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Posted Wed Mar 10 2010: from Environmental Health News:
PCBs alter key brain chemical that stops nerve-to-nerve signals.
Certain types of PCBs can affect the way a brain chemical responsible for halting brain signals sends its chemical messages from nerve to nerve, according to research conducted on frog egg cells. These results further tease apart PCBs' complex effects on brain chemicals and better explain how these interactions can result in abnormal brain function. PCBs are known to affect behavior, memory and learning in animals and people. Exactly how they do this still eludes researchers, although the persistent contaminants have been shown to affect several key cell chemical pathways that are essential for normal brain activity. Prior studies have focused on how PCBs interfere with the brain chemicals that allow the brain's nerve cells -- called neurons -- to communicate. Yet, little is known about how PCBs impact the opposing -- yet equally important -- chemical signals that inhibit and stop nerve messages from crossing the gaps -- or synapses -- between nerve endings. This study from the Netherlands finds that some types of PCBs can affect the main inhibitory neurochemical GABA.
[Read more stories about: PCBs, health impacts]

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