Song Lai1, Jianrong Shi1, John P. Lackey1, Jay S. Schneider2
1Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2Pathology, Anatomy, & Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Adolescents with greater early childhood lead exposure (blood lead level (BLL) > 10 g/dl) showed elevated brain activation during performance of working memory tasks, suggesting an abnormal recruitment of brain circuits involved in working memory in individuals with prior elevated blood lead level. Enhanced activation patterns in subjects with greater early childhood lead exposure may indicate an attempt by the brain to compensate for injury to regions dedicated to working memory by recruiting additional neural resources. These data may also indicate that individuals with higher lead exposures may use different cognitive processing strategies to perform working memory tasks.