Roberta F. White, PhD

Roberta WhiteProfessor, Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
Professor, Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health
Associate Dean for Research, Boston University School of Public Health
Chair of Environmental Health, Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

Phone: 617-638-4620
Email: rwhite@bu.edu
Graduate School: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (1978)
Special Interests: Neuropsychology, Neurotoxic exposures, Cognitive and Behavioral Effects of Exposure to Neurotoxicants Epidemiology, and Environmental Health

Research

Roberta F. White, PhD is a trans-disciplinary scientist whose research focuses on the effects of exposure to industrial pollutants on brain function. Initially trained as a clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist, her work employs cognitive and behavioral test measures and neuroimaging techniques to identify pollutant effects on the central nervous system. Combining the fields of public health, behavioral neuroscience, and epidemiology as well as clinical neuropsychology, she has explored the effects of occupational lead and solvent exposures on cognitive and affective expressions of brain function; elucidated prenatal effects of exposure to methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls on cognitive function and neuropsychological outcomes; identified chemical exposures that are associated with the occurrence of Gulf War Illness (GWI) following the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and uncovered cognitive and neuroimaging evidence of structural brain damage associated with GWI and sarin exposure in the GW veteran population. Her work has had significant public health impact in setting standards for occupational exposure to lead, environmental exposure to methylmercury in utero, and acceptance of GWI as a physical illness related to chemical exposures in theatre. She has written extensively on the clinical correlates of encephalopathies caused by exposure to chemical pollutants and co-wrote the World Health Organization criteria for diagnosis of solvent encephalopathy that are used internationally. Dr. White’s research and clinical career have led to leadership positions in the field of public health and psychology.

Books

White, RF (Ed.) Clinical Syndromes in Adult Neuropsychology: The Practitioner’s Handbook. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 1992.

Selected Publications

White RF. What is life?. Bostonia. 2013; p. 42.

Janulewicz, PA, Killiany R, White, RF, Weinberg J, Winter M, Martin, B, Aschengrau, A. Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging in an Adult Cohort Following Prenatal and Early Postnatal Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated Drinking Water. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Jul-Aug;38:13-20. PMID: 23571160

Getz KD, Janulewicz PA, Rowe S, Weinberg JM, Winter MR, Martin BR, Vieira VM, White RF, Aschengrau A. Prenatal and early childhood exposure to tetrachloroethylene and adult vision. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Sep; 120(9):1327-32.

Janulewicz PA, White RF, Martin BM, Winter MR, Weinberg JM, Vieira V, Aschengrau A. Adult neuropsychological performance following prenatal and early postnatal exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2012 May-Jun; 34(3):350-9.

Aschengrau A, Weinberg JM, Janulewicz PA, Romano ME, Gallagher LG, Winter MR, Martin BR, Vieira VM, Webster TF, White RF, Ozonoff DM. Occurrence of mental illness following prenatal and early childhood exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study. Environ Health. 2012; 11:2.

Aschengrau A, Weinberg JM, Janulewicz PA, Romano ME, Gallagher LG, Winter MR, Martin BR, Vieira VM, Webster TF, White RF, Ozonoff DM. Affinity for risky behaviors following prenatal and early childhood exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study. Environ Health. 2011; 10:102.

White RF, Palumbo CL, Yurgelun-Todd DA, Heaton KJ, Weihe P, Debes F, Grandjean P. Functional MRI approach to developmental methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyl neurotoxicity. Neurotoxicology. 2011 Dec; 32(6):975-80.

White RF, Sullivan K. . Response to is Gulf War Illness “Real”: The jury is still out by DR Orme. The Federal Practitioner. 2011.

Hansen MK, McVey MJ, White RF, Legos JJ, Brusq JM, Grillot DA, Issandou M, Barone FC. Selective CETP inhibition and PPARalpha agonism increase HDL cholesterol and reduce LDL cholesterol in human ApoB100/human CETP transgenic mice. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jun; 15(2):196-202.

Hoffman K, Webster TF, Weinberg JM, Aschengrau A, Janulewicz PA, White RF, Vieira VM. Spatial analysis of learning and developmental disorders in upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts using generalized additive models. Int J Health Geogr. 2010; 9:7.

White RF. , pp. 23-25, p. 68, 2010. Testimony and Prepared Statement. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs US House of Representatives, 111th Congress. July 30, 2009. The Implications of the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Limited Scope of Gulf War Illness Research. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, Serial No. 111-39. 2010; 23-25, 68.

White RF, Campbell R, Echeverria D, Knox SS, Janulewicz P. Assessment of neuropsychological trajectories in longitudinal population-based studies of children. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Jan; 63 Suppl 1:i15-26.

White RF. . Submission for the record. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs US House of Representatives, 111th Congress. May 19, 2009. Gulf War Illness Research: Is Enough Being Done? Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, Serial No. 111-21. 2009; 73-76.

Chevrier C, Sullivan K, White RF, Comtois C, Cordier S, Grandjean P. Qualitative assessment of visuospatial errors in mercury-exposed Amazonian children. Neurotoxicology. 2009 Jan; 30(1):37-46.

Janulewicz PA, White RF, Winter MR, Weinberg JM, Gallagher LE, Vieira V, Webster TF, Aschengrau A. Risk of learning and behavioral disorders following prenatal and early postnatal exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2008 May-Jun; 30(3):175-85.

Lincoln A, Espejo D, Johnson P, Paasche-Orlow M, Speckman JL, Webber TL, White RF. Limited literacy and psychiatric disorders among users of an urban safety-net hospital’s mental health outpatient clinic. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2008; (196):186-193.

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses. Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Scientific Findings and Recommendations. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington D.C. 2008.

White RF. Statement of Roberta White, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health. US Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Hearing Before the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs One Hundred Tenth Congress First Session September 25, 2007. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC,. 2007; 35-37.

Heaton KJ, Palumbo CL, Proctor SP, Yurgelun-Todd DA, White RF. Response to “Latency: An important consideration in Gulf War Syndrome” by Freidman et al. NeuroToxicology. 2007; (28):1043-1045.

Heaton KJ, Palumbo CL, Proctor SP, Killiany RJ, Yurgelun-Todd D, White RF. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging in US Army Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War potentially exposed to sarin and cyclosarin. NeuroToxicology. 2007; (28):761-769.

Vasterling JJ, Proctor SP, Amoroso P, Kane R, Heeren T, White RF. Deployment to the Iraq war and neuropsychological sequelae. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2006; (296):2678-2680.

Debes F, Budtz-Jorgensen E, Weihe P, White RF, Grandjean P. Impact of methylmercury exposure on neurobehavioral function at age 14 years. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2006; (28):363-375.

White RF, Ozonoff D. Methylmercury. Health Effects. 2006.

Vasterling JJ, Proctor SP, Amoroso P, Kane R, Heeren T, White RF. Neuropsychological outcomes of Army personnel following deployment to the Iraq War: A prospective examination. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2006; (296):519-529.

Proctor SP, Heaton KJ, Heeren T, White RF. Effects of sarin and cyclosarin exposure during the 1991 Gulf War on neurobehavioral functioning in US army veterans. NeuroToxicology. 2006; (27):931-939.

White RF. Occupational and environmental neurology: a pioneer. In memorium: Robert G. Feldman, MD, 1933-2003. Am J Ind Med. 2005 Feb; 47(2):101-3.

James KE, White RF, Kraemer, HC. . Repeated split sample validation to assess logistic regression and recursive partitioning: An application to the prediction of cognitive impairment. Statistics in Medicine. 2005; (24):3019-3035.

Kold TJ, Grandjean P, Budtz-Jorgensen E, White RF, Debes F, Weihe P. Effects of breastfeeding on neuropsychological development in a community with methylmercury exposure from seafood. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology. 2005; (26).

Proctor SP, Gopal S, Imai A, Wolfe J, Ozonoff D, White RF. . Spatial analysis of 1991 Gulf War troop locations in relationship with postwar health symptom reports using GIS techniques. Transactions in GIS. 2005; (9):381-396.

Weisskopf M, Hu H, Mulkern RU, White R, Aro A, Oliveiva S, Wright RO., 112: 620-625, 2004. Cognitive deficits and magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adult monozygotic twins with lead poisoning. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2004; (112):620-625.

Patterson WB, White RF. Symptom magnification and neurocognitive dysfunction (letter). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2004; (46):608-610.

White RF. Neuropsychological assessments in children from a longitudinal perspective for the National Children’s Study. White Paper for NIH. 2004.

White RF, James KE, Vasterling JJ, Letz R, Marans K, Delaney R, Krengel M, Rose F, Kraemer HC. Neuropsychological screening for cognitive impairment using computer-assisted tasks. Assessment. 2003 Mar; 10(1):86-101.

Grandjean P, White RF, Weihe P, Jorgensen PJ. . Neurotoxic risk caused by stable and variable exposure to methylmercury from seafood. Ambulatory Pediatrics. 2003; 1(3):18-23.

White RF. Service in the Gulf War and significant health problems: Focus on the central nervous system. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25: pp 77-83. 2003.

Proctor SP, White RF, Heeren T, Debes F, Gloerfel-Tarp B, Appleyard M, Ishoy T, Guldager B, Ozonoff DM. . Neuropsychological functioning in Danish Gulf War veterans. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25. 2003.

Sullivan K, Krengel M, Proctor SP, Devine S, Heeren T, White RF. Cognitive functioning in treatment-seeking Gulf War veterans: Pyridostigmine bromide use and PTSD. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25. 2003.

Lindem K, Heeren T, White RF, Proctor SP, Krengel M, Vasterling JJ, Sutker P, Wolfe J, Keane T. Neuropsychological performance in Gulf War era veterans: I. Traumatic stress symptomatology and exposure to chemical-biological warfare agents. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25. 2003.

Lindem K, Proctor SP, Heeren T, Krengel M, Vasterling J, Sutker P, Wolfe J, Keane T, White RF. Neuropsychological performance in Gulf War era veterans: II. Neuropsychological symptom reporting. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25. 2003.

Lindem K, White RF, Heeren T, Proctor SP, Krengel M, Vasterling J, Wolfe J, Sutker P, Kirkley S, Keane T. Neuropsychological performance in Gulf War era veterans: III. Motivational factors and effort. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25. 2003.

Budtz-Jorgensen E, Keiding N, Grandjean P, Weihe P, White RF. Consequences of exposure measurement error for confounder identification in environmental epidemiology. Statistics in Medicine. 2003; (22):3089-3100.

White RF, Devine S, Kirkley S, Palumbo C. . Carbon monoxide exposure and carboxyhemoglobin: Response (letter). Environmental Health Perspectives. 2003; (111):A512.

White RF. Chasing Neuropsychology: A Guidebook for the “General Clinician”, a review of “Treating Patients with Neuropsychological Disorders: A Clinicians’ Guide to Assessment and Referral” by Jeffrey B. Allen. Contemporary Psychology. 2003.

Weihe P, Debes F, White RF, Sorensen N, Budtz-Jorgensen E, Keiding N, Grandjean P. Environmental epidemiology studies lead to a decrease of exposure limit for mercury (Danish). Ugeskrift for Laeger. 2003; (165):107-111.

Devine SA, Kirkley SM, Palumbo CL, White RF. MRI and neuropsychological correlates of carbon monoxide exposure: a case report. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Oct; 110(10):1051-5.

White RF, James KE, Vasterling JJ, Marans K, Delaney R, Krengel M, Rose F. Interrater reliability of neuropsychological diagnoses: a Department of Veterans Affairs cooperative study. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2002 May; 8(4):555-65.

Budtz-Jorgensen E, Keiding N, Grandjean P, Weihe P, White RF. . Consequences of exposure measurement error for confounder identification in environmental epidemiology. Research Report 01/13, Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen. 2002.

Cordier S, Garel M, Mandereau L, Morcel H, Doineau P, Gosme-Seguret S, Josse D, White RF, Amiel-Tison C. . Neurodevelopment investigations among methylmercury-exposed children in French Guiana. Environmental Research Section A. 2002; 1-11(89).

Weihe P, Hansen JC, Murata K, Debes F, Jorgensen PJ, Steuerwald U, White RF, Grandjean P. Neurobehavioral performance of Inuit children with increased prenatal exposure to methylmercury. International Journal of Circumpolar Health. 2002; (61):41-49.

White RF, Proctor SP, Heeren T, Wolfe J, Krengel M, Vasterling J, Lindem K, Heaton KJ, Sutker P, Ozonoff DM. Neuropsychological function in Gulf War veterans: relationships to self-reported toxicant exposures. Am J Ind Med. 2001 Jul; 40(1):42-54.

White RF. Patterns of neuropsychological impairment associated with neurotoxicants. Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine: Neurotoxicology. 2001; (1):577-593.

Grandjean P, White RF. Neurobehavioral dysfunction as possible sentinel of methylmercury exposure. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 2001; 5(7):1079-1089.

Proctor SP, Heaton KJ, White RF, Wolfe J. Chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue in Gulf War veterans: A brief report. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 43:259-264. 2001.

Grandjean P, White RF, Sullivan K, Debes F, Murata K, Otto DA, Weihe P. . Impact of contrast sensitivity performance on visually-presented neurobehavioral tests in mercury-exposed children. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 23:141-146. 2001.

Proctor SP, Harley R, Wolfe J, Heeren T, White RF. Health-related quality of life in Gulf War veterans. Military Medicine, 166: 510-519. 2001.

Grandjean P, Weihe P, Burse VW, Needham LL, Storr-Hansen E, Heinzow B, Debes F, Murata K, Simonsen H, Ellefsen P, Budtz-Jorgensen E, Keiding N, White RF. Neurobehavioral deficits associated with PCB in 7-year-old children prenatally exposed to seafood neurotoxicants. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 23(4):305-17. 2001.

Elias MF, Beiser A, Wolf PA, Au R, White RF, D’Agostino RB. The preclinical phase of alzheimer disease: A 22-year prospective study of the Framingham Cohort. Arch Neurol. 2000 Jun; 57(6):808-13.

Budtz-Jorgensen E, Grandjean P, Keiding N, White RF, Weihe P. Benchmark dose calculations of methylmercury-associated neurobehavioral deficits. Toxicology Letters, 112-3:193-199. 2000.

Proctor SP, Letz R, White RF. . Validity of a computer-assisted neurobehavioral test battery in toxicant encephalopathy. NeuroToxicology, 21:703-714. 2000.

 

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine