Title

The Effects of Chronic Environmental Exposure to BPA: Can Adopting a BPA-free Lifestyle Reduce the Impact on One’s Health and Wellbeing?

Proposal Type

Presentation

Presenter Information

Abby MeyerFollow

Additional Presenter Information

Title: Assistant Professor

College: Arts and Letter

Department: Psychological Sciences

Primary campus: Dahlonega

Presentation Option

yes

Keywords

BPA, environment, anxiety, depression, health

Subject Area

Psychology

Description/Abstract

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound that mimics estrogen in the body and disrupts typical neuroendocrine functioning. Most research protocols investigating the impact of BPA and other endocrine disruptors (BPAOED) expose an animal model through invasive means, such as injection, gavaging, and subcutaneous methods of exposure. These methods serve to increase stress levels in the animal model, creating the potential for serious confounds in behavioral research. Additionally, these paradigms are not ecologically valid in comparison to studies investigating exposure to BPAOED in human populations; humans are not under stress when interacting with BPAOED, and we interact with these substances unwittingly. In order to produce a laboratory exposure paradigm that mirrors human exposure, mice were exposed solely through environmental influences in a BPAOED-rich environment from conception until adulthood. Upon reaching adulthood, half of the mice remained in the BPAOED-rich environment to determine the long-term impact of continued exposure. The other half were placed in a BPAOED-free environment in order to determine if efforts to reduce exposure to this class of toxins, even after continued exposure through critical periods of development, would lead to improvements in psychological and physiological health. Physiological health measures for both groups were collected to determine the effects of exposure to BPAOED on indices of toxicity, including liver weight, brain weight, and thymus weight relative to body weight. Anxiety-like-behavior and depressive-like-behaviors were measured using the elevated plus maze and the forced swim test, respectively. Results show health-dependent benefits of adopting a BPAOED-free lifestyle following a life-time of exposure.

Bio

Dr. Meyer came to UNG in August of 2015 immediately following the completion of her graduate work at the University of Memphis. She formed a precocious love of psychology and human behavior from a very young age, but later discovered her love of neuroscience and neural circuits of memory systems after surviving a harrowing car accident in 2004. Her lack of memories for this event and her subsequent neurorecovery led her to study the pathways and processes that govern memory systems. In graduate school, Dr. Meyer pursued the field of behavioral toxicology in an attempt to further discover the factors that hinder neurodevelopment, memory processes, and executive functioning. Her student-driven research lab at UNG is actively working to continue to uncover the important links between what the brain is, what factors disrupt neurodevelopment, and what the brain is capable of. Her current research studies include investigations of the effects of BPA exposure and also Carbaryl exposure on measures of health and psychological wellbeing.

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The Effects of Chronic Environmental Exposure to BPA: Can Adopting a BPA-free Lifestyle Reduce the Impact on One’s Health and Wellbeing?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound that mimics estrogen in the body and disrupts typical neuroendocrine functioning. Most research protocols investigating the impact of BPA and other endocrine disruptors (BPAOED) expose an animal model through invasive means, such as injection, gavaging, and subcutaneous methods of exposure. These methods serve to increase stress levels in the animal model, creating the potential for serious confounds in behavioral research. Additionally, these paradigms are not ecologically valid in comparison to studies investigating exposure to BPAOED in human populations; humans are not under stress when interacting with BPAOED, and we interact with these substances unwittingly. In order to produce a laboratory exposure paradigm that mirrors human exposure, mice were exposed solely through environmental influences in a BPAOED-rich environment from conception until adulthood. Upon reaching adulthood, half of the mice remained in the BPAOED-rich environment to determine the long-term impact of continued exposure. The other half were placed in a BPAOED-free environment in order to determine if efforts to reduce exposure to this class of toxins, even after continued exposure through critical periods of development, would lead to improvements in psychological and physiological health. Physiological health measures for both groups were collected to determine the effects of exposure to BPAOED on indices of toxicity, including liver weight, brain weight, and thymus weight relative to body weight. Anxiety-like-behavior and depressive-like-behaviors were measured using the elevated plus maze and the forced swim test, respectively. Results show health-dependent benefits of adopting a BPAOED-free lifestyle following a life-time of exposure.