Handbook of Neurotoxicology, Volume 2
Edward J. Massaro
Humana Press, 2002 - Medical - 594 pages
N eurotoxicology is a broad and burgeoning field of research. Its growth in recent years can be related, in part, to increased interest in and concern with the fact that a growing number of anthropogenic agents with neurotoxic potential, including pesticides, 1ead, mercury, and the polytypic byproducts of combustion and industrial production, continue to be spewed into and accumulate in the environment. In addition, there is great interest in natural products, including toxins, as sources of therapeutic agents. Indeed, it is well known that many natural toxins ofbroadly differing structure, produced or accumulated for predatory or defensive purposes, and toxic agents, accumulated incidentalIy by numerous species, function to perturb nervous tissue. Components of some of these toxins have been shown to be useful therapeutic agents and/or research reagents. Unfor of some neurotoxicants of anthropogenic ori tunately, the environmental accumulation gin, expecialIy pesticides and metals, has resulted in incidents ofhuman poisoning, some of epidemic proportion, and high levels of morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, an increasing incidence of neurobehavioral disorders, some with baffling symptoms, is confronting clinicians. It is not clear whether this is merely the re suit of increased vigi lance and/or improved diagnostics or a consequence of improved health care. In any case, the role of exposure to environmental and occupational neurotoxicants in the etiology of these phenomena, as well as neurodegenerative diseases, is coming under increasing scrutiny and investigation.
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