About this Research Topic
Early-life exposure to environmental pollutants (pesticides, dioxins, metals) is associated with neurodevelopment and cognitive ability of children. Prenatal and postnatal periods are recognized vulnerability windows to neurotoxic environmental contaminants. Exposure outcomes are associated with an increased risk of several long-lasting neurological, cognitive, and behavioral deficits. Neurodevelopment is also affected by the deficiency of essential nutrients and neuroactive substances.
The impact of environmental pollutants on the global burden of disease is not fully understood. Current evidence especially underestimates the complex interactions between multiple contaminants, since complex interactions between environmental contaminants and social determinants and nutritional deficits are challenging to study. Socio-economic disadvantages are frequently accompanied by nutritional deficits, environmental exposure to a variety of contaminants (such as pesticides, microplastics, arsenic, fluoride, lead, mercury, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, and persistent organic pollutants, among others) that particularly affect children of low- and middle-income countries.
Prenatal and early childhood periods represent a particularly vulnerable period to affect neurodevelopment. The wide range of variables that differentiate children from adults and the scarcity of hard data inevitably makes the identification of dangers and the definition of limits for children a challenge for pediatrics, public health, and regulatory actions.
This Research Topic focuses on mechanistic (basic animal research) and human studies (epidemiological, clinical)that shed light on the effect of toxic chemical agents or dietary nutritional deficit on adverse effects on neurodevelopment, including but not limited to molecular, cellular, genetic, sensory, cognitive, reproductive, immunological, and metabolic outcomes. Submissions from low- and middle-income countries and studies with underrepresented populations are especially welcome.
This timely Research Topic aims to cover promising, recent, and innovative research trends in the field of neurodevelopment and exposure to environmental chemicals, food contamination, and nutritional deficits. The areas to be covered may include, but are not limited to:
• Studies in animal models that address the impact of maternal diet, nutrition, and early life experience on molecular and cellular mechanisms in neuronal circuit formation and refinement during prenatal and postnatal brain development.
• Studies that examine pre- and post-natal exposures to neurotoxic contaminants and their impact on neurodevelopment of children and adolescents.
• Studies that examine the association of maternal exposure markers with measures of motor, cognitive, and behavioral neurodevelopment.
• Studies that assess the role of diet in children’s neurodevelopment.
• Studies that explore the mechanisms by which breastfeeding can affect neurodevelopment in early childhood.
Keywords: Neurodevelopment, pollutants, diet, breastfeeding
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