Assessment of attention and memory efficiency in persons with solvent neurotoxicity

Neuropsychologia. 1992 Oct;30(10):911-22. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(92)90035-k.


Memory and attention were evaluated in 40 persons with a history of organic solvent exposure and 40 demographically similar controls. Exposed subjects, in comparison to controls, had reduced digit spans, were deficient at learning new information, and recall on a Brown-Peterson distractor test was especially low following a 30-sec interference interval. If original learning was considered, long-term recall was similar for both groups. On a test of sustained attention, the Continuous Performance Test, exposed subjects became less accurate over successive blocks, a pattern opposite to that seen in control subjects. The data suggest that the memory impairment following solvent exposure may result from deficient allocation of attentional resources due to the inability to deal effectively with an increase in processing load.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Mental Recall / drug effects*
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Paired-Associate Learning / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Wechsler Scales


  • Solvents