A new study suggests that the female hormones estrogen and estradiol may protect the brain against the toxic effects of lead. It found that young boys with higher levels of lead in their blood performed worse on cognition tests than those with lower levels, while this was not the case for girls, who appeared hardly affected by the chemical element.

The study – which is published in the Journal of Environmental Health – is the work of Maya Khanna, a psychology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Creighton University in Omaha, NE.

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