Risk factors associated with persistence of neuropsychological deficits in persons with organic solvent exposure

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1991 Sep;179(9):540-5. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199109000-00004.


This study examined neuropsychological prognosis following organic solvent exposure. Twenty-seven persons with evidence of "mild toxic encephalopathy" were evaluated on two separate occasions with a standard neuropsychological test battery and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Ratings by experienced clinicians revealed that 50% of exposed persons had improved neuropsychological performance at the second evaluation. The other 50% were rated as having no change or a decline in neuropsychological tests scores. While the majority of persons in the good-outcome group were working at the time of the follow-up evaluation, none of the persons in the poor-outcome group was actively employed. Persons rated as having shown no improvement were significantly more likely to have had a peak exposure--an episode in which they were briefly exposed to a larger than normal amount of solvent. In addition, persons in the poor outcome group reported higher levels of psychological distress, both initially and at the follow-up evaluation. Results from this study suggest that the presence of certain risk factors, namely a peak exposure and psychological distress, may be particularly detrimental for long-term neuropsychological outcome in persons with a history of organic solvent exposure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • MMPI
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Prognosis
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Solvents / poisoning
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / chemically induced
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Wechsler Scales


  • Solvents