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Posted Mon Sep 5 2011: from Environmental Health News:
Common plasticizer alters an important memory system in male rat brains.
An ingredient widely-used to soften plastic containers and toys changed brain development in growing male rats when exposure occurs during a sensitive phase. The same exposure did not affect female rats, report researchers in the journal Neuroscience. The animal study shows that the phthalate DEHP can disrupt the normal development of the hippocampus in young male rats by reducing the number of cells and nerve connections that form. The hippocampus is important to learning as it is involved in the formation of long-term memories. The rat hippocampus matures in the first few weeks after birth while in people, the hippocampus largely develops before birth during the third trimester. This is the first research to connect phthalate exposure at a critical time of development with these cell and nerve effects in the hippocampus.
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