Our Research Program.
Dr. Till’s research program focuses on environmental exposures, such as lead and fluoride, and aims to understand how these exposures interact with risk and protective factors, such as psychosocial stress and nutrition, to affect the development of children. Legacy work continues to examine neuropsychological sequelae of pediatric multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Till has been examining the safety of fluoride since 2015 when her and a student conducted the first epidemiological study to show an association between water fluoridation and the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States. The overwhelming reactions to this study demonstrated the urgent need for better-quality research to address critical knowledge gaps related to the safety of fluoride. Most of the published research on this topic was methodologically weak, decades old, or simply lacking for vulnerable populations, such as the fetus. To make informed decisions about the safety of water fluoridation, studies looking at sensitive endpoints in the most vulnerable population were needed.
Specific Research Interests.
Effects of environmental neurotoxicants on reproductive, maternal, and children’s health
Endocrine-disruptors and health outcomes
Neuropsychological sequelae of demyelinating disease
Since 2016, Dr. Till has secured over $3 million in funding for fluoride research with most funding coming from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).
Fluoride Use Across the World
Fluoride is one of the most controversial and contentious areas in public health today. The benefits of fluoridated water for prevention of tooth decay are cited widely. Mounting evidence suggests, however, that fluoride exposure may have adverse effects on brain development. These findings have raised concerns about water fluoridation, which accounts for approximately 70% of daily fluoride intake in adults. An estimated 39% of Canadians and 74% of Americans on public water supplies receive optimally fluoridated water compared with only 3% of Europe.
The Till Lab has produced >40 publications in the last 6+ years.
18 were epidemiological studies examining the relationship between fluoride exposure and several health endpoints in children and adult
The Till Lab uses data from longitudinal and cross-sectional population-based studies that involve cutting edge methods for measuring fluoride exposure.
Birth outcomes (e.g.)
Dr. Christine Till focused much of her career looking at factors that play a role in limiting the clinical expression of demyelinating disease, such as multiple sclerosis, in childhood and adolescence. The program looked at links between neuropsychological sequelae associated with demyelinating disease and structural and functional neuroimaging metrics. Additionally, factors that may promote brain health, such as physical activity, were also considered. Although legacy work continues in this area, Dr. Till has started focusing more exclusively on children's environmental health including studying the impact of fluoride and other potential neurotoxicants on the developing brain. This legacy work uses a multi-disciplinary approach involving collaboration with a large group of scientists and clinicians. Through this they have been able to characterize the functional impact of brain0related changes in children, adolescents, and young adults. The goal of this research is to support the development enhancement of treatments to improve quality of life.