History

 

The Manganese Health Research Program (MHRP) was initiated by the International Manganese Institute. 

 

Committed to launching an ambitious research program on the effects of manganese on human health, it was important to move forward in partnership with an organization that shared a strong interest in filling the knowledge gaps in this area.  IMnI’s partner today is the US Military Operational Medicine Research Program.  The original aim was to have a $6 million Manganese Health Research Program (MHRP) with expenditure over three years. To date, the US Congress has voted a total of $5.1 million for the MHRP in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Federal Budgets.

 

The MHRP Process

 

A multi-phased project, the MHRP is spearheaded by a team comprised of government, academia, world-renowned scientists and researchers, and US and international industry. This Steering Committee is chaired by the IMnI, while Dr. Michael Aschner of Vanderbilt University oversees and administers the entire multi-study program.   This collaborative effort seeks to clarify the level at which exposure to manganese may play a role in adverse health effects.  The continued program objective is to protect the health of those exposed to manganese through their work by developing an improved understanding of the relationship between exposure and health effects. 

 

Current Research Activity

 
Research is currently underway on a host of projects being undertaken at some of the world’s finest medical and scientific laboratories. Research in process with Phase 1 funding includes the creation of a multi-center study of manganese-exposed workers which will be used to determine neurological and health endpoints; using biomarkers for the diagnosis of the potential adverse affects of manganese; mechanistic studies in rats to identify the reciprocal relationship between iron and manganese, as well as the kinetics of manganese in the brain; research to elucidate cellular processes involved in the uptake of inhaled manganese by the olfactory pathway; and the creation of a research activity awareness center to serve as a web-based central resource for research information on manganese, serving to further education, awareness, communication, and technology transfer. A feasibility study investigating the potential for a large-scale epidemiology study on the link between exposure to welding fumes and Parkinson’s Disease is of particular importance.
 
In addition to those projects already underway, the MHRP Steering Committee in 2005 chose an additional 8 projects for Phase 2 funding.
 

Research for Phase 2 includes studies on: neurotoxicity after pulmonary exposure to welding fumes containing manganese; the identification of novel biomarkers of manganese exposure; a study of the nervous system in welders; the mechanisms of manganese-induced damage at the cell and mitochondrial level; the role of manganese in prion disease pathogenesis; an assessment of genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of inorganic-forms of manganese; the role of toxins and genetics in manganese-induced DA degeneration; molecular mechanisms underlying Mn neurotoxicity.

 

For more about the Manganese Health Research Program, visit the MHRP website: www.manganese-health.org