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Environmental exposure and cognitive decline in healthy elderly: influence of psychosocial stress and oxidative stress.

Grant number: 11/14381-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2011
Effective date (End): August 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Toxicological Analysis
Principal researcher:Tania Marcourakis
Grantee:Raphael Fernandes Catucci
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Over the past decades, several authors have demonstrated an association between glucocorticoids and memory in healthy elderly. In parallel, recent evidences have revealed that exposure to environmental contaminants (EC) such as lead, polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorides, and also the oxidative stress is associated with age-related memory impairment. Some EC could interfere in the regulation of sexual steroid hormones. However, little is known about the influence of the EC in the glucocorticoids (stress hormone) and in the oxidativo stress biomarkers. Hence, the main goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between stress response and EC exposure and their association with cognitive performance and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy elderly. Thus, 122 elderly who have been living in São Paulo metropolitan area, without cognitive impairment or neurological/psychiatric disorders will be evaluated. Saliva samples will be collected to verify diurnal cortisol cycle and also the cortisol concentration face and acute psychosocial stressor ("Trier Social Stress Test" - TSST). Besides, blood samples will be collected in order to analyze EC concentrations and oxidative stress biomarkers. It has been hypothesized that the cognitive performance variability in the elderly could be partially explained by the influence of EC exposure which may alter the stress response affecting the cognitive performance. Moreover, it has been propose that one of the mechanisms involved in this association is related to the increased levels of oxidative stress biomarkers. The current study could contribute to the understanding of healthy cognitive aging process and to drive studies about cognitive impairment aging. Besides this, the analysis about the impact of EC on stress response could set a stage for more complex models about the role of EC in the stress related disorders development.

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