Aritz Aranbarri defended his doctoral thesis


On Tuesday 23rd September, the doctoral thesis with International reference entitled: “Impact of Prenatal Organochlorine Compounds on Early Neuropsychological Development” defended by the already Ph.D. Aritz Aranbarri Paredes in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). This doctoral thesis has been co-directed by Dr. Eduardo Fano Ardanaz (research professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the UPV/EHU and member of Environmental Epidemiology and Child Development research team at BioDonostia Health Research Institute) and Dr. Jesús Mª Ibarluzea Maurolagoitia(Charge of Environment and Health Unit, at the Sub-directorate of Public Health of Gipuzkoa, in the Department of Health of the Basque Government and principal researcher of Environmental Epidemiology and Child Developmentteam at BioDonostia Health Research Institute).


The doctoral project is framed at the INMA (Environment and Childhood) project, within the INMA-Gipuzkoa birth cohort. It aims to analyze the relationship between prenatal exposure (at fetal development) to organochlorine compounds such as HCB, p,p’DDE, and PCBs measured in maternal serum (in the first trimester of pregnancy) and in umbilical cord serum at birth, and child’s cognitive and motor development at 2 years of age. The results show that after controlling for other important variables that influence child’s development, such as the social position and the family context, and different features of pregnancy and anthropometric development of the child, a relationship not previously described for prenatal HCB exposure was observed with a lower motor development. Although these differences were not clinically relevant, they werestatistically significant at a population scale. These association were similar for p,p’DEE and PCBs, and all the associations were found in both biological samples (maternal serum during pregnancy and newborns cord serum), showing consistent results. However, no effects were observed in cognitive development. The results are relevant to public health, because even if these levels are considered very-low, these compounds are neurotoxic enough to be detected at a population scale. That is why our results support the idea of advancing in global strategies to meet and reduce the risk associated with exposure to these chemicals.