Environmental Health

environment

 

 

faculty-icon  Dr. Honglei Chen

 

The PASS Study - Pesticides, olfaction, and neurodegeneration among US farmers

The goal is to evaluate exposures to pesticides in relation to poor olfaction and how they may contribute to prodromal neurodegeneration in older farmers. In this project, we enrolled ~2,500 male farmers of the Agricultural Health Study, selected based on their self-reported sense of smell. We tested their olfaction using the Brief Smell Identification Test and assessed other prodromal symptoms of neurodegeneration, motor symptoms, and cognitive status.

 

W81XWH-17-1-0536 / PF-IMP-1825, (multi-PI)                                 09/01/2017-08/31/2022

Airborne pollutants as triggers of Parkinson’s disease via the olfactory system

The goal is to assess whether ambient air pollutants contribute to the prodromal development of Parkinson’s disease. In this project, we enrolled ~3,500 women of the Sister Study, selected based on their self-reported sense of smell and age. We tested their olfaction using the Brief Smell Identification Test and conducted genomewide genotyping using the Neuroarray chip. Data on other prodromal symptoms of neurodegeneration, motor symptoms, and cognitive status were collected as part of the Sister Study’s cohort-wide follow-up surveys.

 

Prospective studies of Parkinson’s disease

(PI: Honglei Chen, NIEHS 1ZIAES101986, 2006-2016)

Using data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study and several other cohorts, we investigate genetic and environmental risk factors for Parkinson’s disease.

 

 


 

faculty-icon   Dr. Kelly Hirko

 

Geospatial analysis of breast cancer risk factors in Northern Michigan

The goal of this project is to characterize underlying factors contributing to the high breast cancer incidence in Grand Traverse County.  Using geographic information systems, we are assessing the geographic distribution of breast cancer cases in Grand Traverse county in relation to agriculturally-zoned land and are incorporating county-level data to examine the prevalence of known breast cancer risk factors in the region which may contribute to the elevated breast cancer burden.  This community-driven research is led by Dr. Kelly Hirko.

  


 

faculty-icon  Dr. Kristen Upson

 

Women’s Risk of Endometriosis Study

Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. Women with endometriosis frequently report pain symptoms and these symptoms can be chronic and debilitating. To understand the risk factors for this condition, we are using data from the Women’s Risk of Endometriosis (WREN) study, a population-based case-control study of health plan enrollees of Group Health (now known as Kaiser Permanente Washington). This study was conducted by Dr. Victoria Holt at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Ongoing research projects using these data are being led by Dr. Kristen Upson at Michigan State University.

 

Toxic metals and women’s health

Uterine fibroids, benign tumors of the uterine smooth muscle, are common in women and can confer substantial morbidity. In this study, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, we are investigating the role of toxic metals in the development of uterine fibroids. We are also examining ways in which common factors unique to reproductive-age women, such as contraception and menstrual bleeding, may increase toxic metal body burden. This research uses data from the Study of Environment, Lifestyle & Fibroids (SELF), a cohort of 1,693 African-American women who were enrolled at ages 23-34 years and followed for five years for the development of uterine fibroids. The SELF project focusing on toxic metals and women’s health is being led by Dr. Kristen Upson at Michigan State University.