Martha M. (Mara) Téllez Rojo, PhD, a Mexican National Institute of Public Health member, co-director of the PROGRESS cohort, and a long-time collaborator with Robert Wright, MD, MPH, Director of the Institute for Exposomic Research at Mount Sinai and PROGRESS PI, was awarded the “Dr. Everardo Landa” Award. The award was presented to her by the National Academy of Medicine in Mexico for the best admission article.
Dr. Téllez Rojo was recently accepted as a new academy member in the Mexcian Public Health chapter. The award recipient is selected from the works presented by scientists who enter the academy the same year.
Dr. Téllez Rojo’s winning article presents research results related to her main topic of interest: exposure to toxic metals during pregnancy. The article calls for the need to address this unattended problem in Mexico and implement biomonitoring and develop regulations aimed at providing care to vulnerable populations.
The National Academy of Medicine in Mexico is a prestigious academic health organization, renowned for its high professional standards and independence of opinions, for its clear, firm position regarding the important health issues facing Mexicans, for defending ethics and humanism, and for its substantial contributions to scientific development, medical education, and public health policy.
Prenatal exposure to metals and concentrations in umbilical cord blood in a Mexico City cohort.
Martha M. Téllez-Rojo1, Luis F. Bautista-Arredondo1, Antonio Rosa-Parra1, Gisela Martínez Silva1.
1: Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública
Background: The long-term health effects of prenatal exposure to some metals have been extensively documented. Evidence of the burden of this exposure in Mexico is scarce. Objective: To estimate the concentration of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn) and lead (Pb) in umbilical cord blood (UCB) and its association with concentrations in maternal blood during pregnancy and delivery. Material Methods: The concentration of As, Cd, Mn and Pb were analyzed in maternal blood samples during pregnancy (n=901), delivery (n=732), and UCB (n=512) from participants of the PROGRESS cohort residing in Mexico City. The association between concentration in UCB and maternal biomarkers was estimated through generalized linear models, adjusted for relevant covariates. Results: The mean concentration (μg/L) of Pb, As and Mn in UCB was 27.14 (25.28-29.14), 0.77 (0.71-0.84 and 42.6 (40.45-44.83), respectively. The concentration for Cd could not be estimated due to excess values below the detection limit. Concentrations in UCB were significantly associated with maternal biomarkers during pregnancy and delivery for Pb and Mn; for As, only at the time of delivery. No association was found for Cd. Conclusions: This study offers strong evidence of a neglected public health problem in Mexico. We document prenatal exposure to toxic metals in sensitive periods of organogenesis. It is necessary to implement biomonitoring and develop regulations aimed at providing care to vulnerable populations.