Pesticide Usage and Short-Term Memory Loss: 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Open Access
Hagan, Sarah Catherine (2015)
In 2007, the United States alone is estimated to have spent over twelve billion dollars on herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, and there are over 18,000 products licensed for use. Well over 1 billion pounds of pesticides were used that year, and while most of this was used in farms and agriculture and other commercial methods, approximately 20%, or around 173 million pounds, was used for household applications. Many studies have linked pesticides to health related concerns, and most frequently associated are neurological and learning issues. The purpose of this retrospective, cross-sectional study was to perform a statistical analysis of the NHANES survey data to determine prevalence of reported short-term memory loss among participants over age 60, prevalence of in-home pesticide usage, and to determine if there is any significant association with domestic pesticide usage and short term memory loss. 45% of study participants indicated that they had experienced some degree of short term memory loss within 7 days of the survey, while only 14% confirmed that they had used pesticides within the home within the same 7 day period. Interviewees who were aged 75 and over had 1.54 times the odds of reporting short-term memory loss as those 60-64 (95% confidence interval=1.14-2.08), while those who had reported a history of stroke had 1.42 times the odds of reporting short-term memory loss as those who did not report stroke (95% CI=1.00-2.00). Females had 1.53 times the odds of males of experiencing memory loss over the 7 days prior to the interview (95% CI=1.26-1.85). While the study did not provide evidence for an association between in-home pesticide usage and short-term memory loss (OR=1.12, 95%CI=0.80-1.57), future studies are recommended which could employ a prospective, longitudinal design in order to delve into critical windows of exposure and non-acute effects, while also controlling for additional important confounders and reducing recall bias.
Table of Contents
APPENDIX I: SAS CODE 36
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