Neurotoxicology: Effects of toxins on the nervous system.

Neurotoxicology interest in the toxicology of the nervous system has grown rapidly in recent years not only because of heightened public concern about the impact of toxic substances on human health but also because the nervous system has been shown to be especially vulnerable to chemical insult (Anger and Johnson, 1985). The potential effects of such toxicity are quite varied, reflecting the large role played by the nervous system in regulating vital body functions and in perceiving, assessing, and responding to the external environment. Interference with these processes by overexposure to chemical and certain physical agents can produce a variety of abnormal neurobehavioral responses, some of which may be life threatening, others resulting in short-term neurobehavioral changes that disappear without a trace, and still others causing permanent or even progressive neurological or psychiatric disorders. Of special concern is the possibility that environmental exposure to certain neurotoxic agents, such as lead, may irreversibly compromise the normal development and capacity of the human brain.

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