Marina M S Cabral Pinto
Isabel Santana, Mario R Simões, Sandra Freitas, M Manuela Inácio, Eduardo Ferreira da Silva
The aim of this project is to study the predisposition to develop the Alzheimer's disease (AD) due to long-exposure to high levels of metal(loid)s (e.g. As, Hg, Al, Zn, Mn, Cd, etc.) and organic compounds (e.g. aniline, dichloronitrobenzene, chlorophenois; volatile organic compounds; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; pesticides; toc). It attempts to understand the relationships between environmental geochemistry and public health in the contaminated area surrounding the Estarreja Chemical Complex (ECC), Northwest Portugal, by analyzing the evolution of groundwater, soils and vegetables quality, evaluating the evolution of contaminant body burden in humans and determining potential health risks. We will identify the cause-effect relationships between environmental contamination and levels of metal(loid)s and organic compounds in humans, and test if contaminated people are more likely to develop neurodegenerative-disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD.

The spatial and temporal distribution of metal(loid)s and organic compounds will be determined in groundwater, soils and vegetables in the agricultural surrounding areas of the ECC and in a control area to determine its toxicological potential. The same elements and compounds will be measured in the studied areas inhabitants’ hair, nails, urine and blood to identify deviations from non-harmful levels.

Cognitive tests will be carried out in the same areas to ascertain possible levels of cognitive decline and to determine whether individuals are at risk of developing MCI and AD. Finally, a longitudinal study will be conducted to study the effects of toxic elements on cognitive decline over time.bi
Projet OHMs
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • Estarreja
Biogéochimie, Éco-épidémiologie, Géospatialisation, Hydrologie, Santé publique


M S Cabral Pinto
I graduated in Geological Engineering from the University of Aveiro (UA) with a final mark of 15/20. I took my MSc at Coimbra University (UC) in Geosciences, in the area of Environment. I completed my PhD in 2010 in Geosciences at the UA. I have published 33 papers in international peer review journals with a very good impact. I also published 6 book chapters in international peer review books and one more in a national peer review book. My published papers have more than 234 citations. I have presented communications in 61 conferences. I leaded 3 projects and I am a researcher of 5 in the geomedicine area. My research has been in the area of Environmental Geochemistry and Medical Geology. I am an active member of the International Medical Geology. In 2017 I and my team received the premium Dr. Orlando Leitão given by Portuguese Society of Neurology,This award represents the recognition of the quality and innovative character of the multidisciplinary research.The award of this award demonstrates an interest in, and awareness in the medical community of, the important role that human exposure to potentially toxic elements in the environment can play in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.


1. Full name: Maria Isabel Jacinto Santana
2. Institution: Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
3. Link to research web site URL or to full list of publications
[ORCID ID | https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8114-9434 | SCOPUS ID: 6603922366]
4. Most relevant highlights in career history.
 2018 Director of Neurology Department of the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
 2017 Associated Invited Professor of Neurology with Aggregation, Medical School, University of Coimbra
 2014 Associated Invited Professor of Neurology, Medical School, University of Coimbra
 2002 Assistant Invited Professor of Neurology, Medical School, University of Coimbra 1986 Neurology Internship, Coimbra University Hospital
5. Most relevant grants.
 PIC/IC/83206/2007: “Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer´s Disease: evaluation of recent classification criteria and proposal of new diagnostic tools”. Grant from FCT; 2009 - 2011. PI: Santana, Isabel.
 The changing brain in Alzheimer's disease: is the retina a reliable mirror of disease onset and progression? Prize Mantero Belard for Neurosciences (Santa Casa da Misericórdia) (2015-2019).
 European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia Project (EPAD) – Parent Cohort. Grant from the Innovative Medicine Iniciative (2015-2020). PI, Coimbra Center: Santana I (coordinator of the center and data)
 JPND/0001/2011: “DEMTEST Biomarker based diagnosis of rapid progressive dementias - optimisation of diagnostic protocols, EU Joint Programme. Grant from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (2012-2015). Principal Investigator: Oliveira, C; (IS: coordinator of the clinical data)
 Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)”, EU Joint Programme. Grant from FCT (2012-2015). PI: Oliveira, C; (IS: coordinator of the clinical data)
M Manuela
Manuela Inácio obtained a Post-Graduation in Educational Sciences, by the Open University, a M.Sc. degree in Environmental Geochemistry and PhD in Earth Sciences by University of Aveiro. In her PhD she produce a soil geochemical data base of Portugal using low-density sampling and will leads to a first Portuguese Soil geochemical atlas of Portugal (in press). She was researcher at DGA (Directorate-General for the environment) and at LNEC (National Laboratory for Civil Engineering) and high school teacher. Between September of 2009 and September of 2014 holds an Assistant Researcher position at the University of Aveiro and now she is researcher at GeoBioTec.
Her main scientific area of research are Environmental Geochemistry and Health; Soil Science; Geochemical Atlas; Medical geology. Other her scientific areas of interest includes Geochemical Mapping; Site characterization and risk assessment; Evaluation of risk on contaminated areas (soils, vegetation and groundwater); Rehabilitation methodologies; Inorganic elements in food chain and health impacts; Evaluation of the bioavailability of the trace elements. Urban geochemistry; Geostatistics - application of methodologies of geochemical data analyses and mapping. She is Chamber of Engineers since 1993, member of Geochemistry Group of the Portuguese Geological Society, member of the International Association of Medical Geology, member of the Portuguese Soil Sciences Society, and member of the Directive Board of OHMI Estarreja. She has been participating and coordinating several important international and national R&D Projects. She has published, the majority as first author, more than 60 papers in Scientific Journals and International Conferences Proceedings and 9 book chapters
Mário R. Simões is Full Professor at Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Director of PsyAssessmentLab and PI of the Research Group Neuropsychological Assessment and Ageing Processes (NAAP) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/naap/] of Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CINEICC) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/] of the University of Coimbra.
He participated actively as a principal investigator of projects with external funding (FCT, FCG) and / or as a supervisor of doctoral theses and master's dissertations in research that led to the adaptation and/or validation of more than 30 tests and other (neuro) psychological assessment instruments for the Portuguese population in educational, clinical and forensic contexts.
Research Group PI
Neuropsychological Assessment and Ageing Processes (NAAP) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/naap/] of Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CINEICC) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/], Research & Developpment Unit of FCT.

Externally funded research projects
PI of several externally funded research projects (by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian; Fundação Bial) in the area of assessment and validation of neuropsychological tests.

In the last 8 years (2011-2018), is author / co-author, of 90 articles in international journals with peer-review and IF, coordinator of 8 national books and 50 national and international book chapter.

PhD and Master Supervisions
PhD Thesis (completed): 18 (15 with FCT grants)
PhD Thesis Supervisions (in progress): 6 (with FCT grants)
Master Degree Dissertations (completed): 70

Present research interests
Neuropsychological Assessment. Adaptation and standardization of neuropsychological tests for Portuguese population. Cognitive screening tests. Memory Assessment.

ORCID: 0000-0002-1311-1338
CV-FCT: https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/cv/forms.PT/f9_publicacoes.aspx
PhD Integrated Member of Neuropsychological Assessment and Ageing Processes (NAAP) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/naap/] of Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CINEICC) [https://cineicc.uc.pt/], Research & Developpment Unit of FCT.

Externally funded research projects
PI of ongoing projects: (i) ESCUDO. - “Aging and Cognitive Decline in the Portuguese Population: Incidence, profiles, risk and protective factors”, funding by FCT [IFCT/01325/2015], (ii) "Montreal Cognitive Assessment: Method for identification of cognitive dysfunction in Epilepsy patients.", funding by Liga Portuguesa contra a Epilepsia (LPCE), and (iii) “Cognitive decline and dementias: Estimation of the incidence rate in Portugal", funding by DGS, Portuguese Government. Research member of many other ongoing projects and PI and research member of various concluded projects on aging, cognitive decline and neuropsychological assessment fields.
In the last 8 years (2011-2018), is author / co-author of 24 articles in international journals with peer-review and IF and 9 national and international book chapter. Author of 4 new neuropsychological assessment instruments and author / co-author of 7 adapted Portuguese versions of neuropsychological assessment instruments.

PhD and Master Supervisions
PhD Thesis (ongoing): 5 (2 with FCT grants)
MsD: 6
Present research interests
Psychology, Neuropsychology and Neurosciences: - Aging and Cognitive Functioning; - Cognitive Impairment and Dementia; - Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias; - Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment; - Development of Neuropsychological Instruments; - Risk and Protective Factors of Aging Course; - Environmental factors as risk factors to neurodegenerative diseases; - Cognitive Training.

Curriculum Vitae: https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/cv/presentation.en/overview.aspx
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3022-5353 | SCOPUS ID: 54787494500
Ferreira da Silva
Professor at the Department of Geosciences, University of Aveiro, Portugal. He received a degree in Geological Engineering from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in 1986, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Geosciences (specializing in Environmental Geochemistry) from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in 1991 and 1995, respectively. His research interests concern Environmental Geochemistry related to studies of site characterization of areas affected by industrial contamination and old mining activities, evaluation of risk on contaminated areas, rehabilitation methodologies, and the Environmental Geochemistry and Health issues. He also has research interests in the application of Sequential Selective Chemical Extraction in the study and identification of the bearing-phases of trace metals in soil and stream sediment samples. He is author and co-author of 19 book chapters, about 150 papers in International Journals and over 300 proceedings in International Conferences.