|Adult volunteers sought for pesticide study|
Adult volunteers are sought for a study on “Occupation Type, Pesticide Exposure, and Neuropsychological Function: The Case for Agricultural Workers,” by Ric Ferraro, psychology.
Purpose: To examine if some occupations (farmers vs. non-farmers) are more risky than others and how pesticide exposure possibly contributes to this increased risk. Farm-related occupations are commonly exposed to various pesticides, yet little is known how this exposure impacts neuropsychological (i.e., thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, memory) performance. This performance may be worse in those who are at a higher risk for pesticide exposure. Also, the aging process may increase as a result of this exposure risk. Thus, participants across a wide age range (35 to 74 years of age) will be tested.
Participants: Farmers will be defined as those with a documented history of an occupation that involves chronic pesticide exposure (e.g., farmer, farm worker, agricultural/livestock/grain farmer, aerial pesticide applicator). Members of this group will also have performed farm or farm-related work for one week in the previous month. Chronic pesticide exposure will be defined as three consecutive workdays and exposure cannot be the result of accidents, safety violations, or weather. A total of 25 to 30 farmers is needed for this initial study and all must be between the ages of 35 to 74, have normal or corrected-to-normal vision and must also be able to transport themselves to the psychology building, Corwin-Larimore Hall. Each participant will receive $50 for their time and effort and the entire experiment will last approximately one hour. Each participate will receive a random subject number and all analyses will be at a group level rather than at the individual level as a way to increase confidentiality.
Testing: Participants will read and sign a consent form, followed by a series of paper and pencil tests of neuropsychological functioning (background questionnaire, mood scale, anxiety scale, vocabulary test, mini-mental status examination, digit symbol, Boston naming test, and immediate/delayed logical memory). Participants will also fill out a pesticide exposure questionnaire and will be required to supply a urine sample. With the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, Ga., the urine sample will be analyzed for metabolites of herbicides (including 2, 4 D), organophosphorus pesticides (including chlorpyrifos), and the pyrethroid insecticides, and will also pick up the most commonly used agricultural pesticides.
Importance: The paper and pencil data will be correlated with the pesticide exposure and urine data to see if, as mentioned earlier, occupations that result in pesticide exposure are related to worse neuropsychological test performance and if this exposure results in what could be termed premature aging. The farm and non-farm groups will be compared using statistical analysis.
To volunteer, contact me. – Ric Ferraro, psychology, (701) 777-2414; firstname.lastname@example.org.