This symposium comprised five oral presentations dealing with recent findings on Mn-related cognitive and motor changes from epidemiological studies across the life span. The first contribution highlighted the usefulness of functional neuroimaging of the central nervous system (CNS) to evaluate cognitive as well as motor deficits in Mn-exposed welders. The second dealt with results of two prospective studies in Mn-exposed workers or welders showing that after decrease of Mn exposure the outcome of reversibility in adverse CNS effects may differ for motor and cognitive function and, in addition the issue of plasma Mn as a reliable biomarker for Mn exposure in welders has been addressed. The third presentation showed a brief overview of the results of an ongoing study assessing the relationship between environmental airborne Mn exposure and neurological or neuropsychological effects in adult Ohio residents living near a Mn point source. The fourth paper focused on the association between blood Mn and neurodevelopment in early childhood which seems to be sensitive to both low and high Mn concentrations. The fifth contribution gave an overview of six studies indicating a negative impact of excess environmental Mn exposure from air and drinking water on children's cognitive performance, with special attention to hair Mn as a potential biomarker of exposure. These studies highlight a series of questions about Mn neurotoxicity with respect to cognitive processes, forms and routes of exposure, adequate biomarkers of exposure, gender differences, susceptibility and exposure limits with regard to age.
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