Researchers Look at Ways BPA Affects Mice

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COLUMBIA - MU medical and neuroscience researchers showed off Thursday what they found in a recent study on how bisphenol A or BPA affects mice.

Researchers put mice into a large circular dish with 12 different holes. Only one of the holes actually connected to the mice's home. Researchers used control mice whose mothers didn't have a diet with BPA, but they also used mice whose mothers did have a diet that consisted of BPA.

"BPA as an endocrine disruptor can prevent that normal production of testosterone," MU Biomedical Professor Cheryl Rosenfeld said.

Researchers found that male mice exposed to the BPA took about a minute longer on average to find their actual cage. Researchers say the mice exposed to BPA had much weaker spatial navigational abilities than the ones not exposed. Spatial ability is how something is related to its surroundings. MU researchers have a theory this type of exposure to BPA can have similar spacial ability effects on humans, although they can not prove it yet.

"Spatial developement would involve the ability to find your way around a neighborhood," MU Psychological Sciences Professor Dave Geary said. "Spatial development is also used to mentally generate images or mental maps."

On day two of the testing the control mice on were able to find their real cage about 50 seconds quicker than the mice who had BPA in them. Now, Geary and Rosenfeld will do tests on other animals to see if there are still similar correlations.