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Your Environment. Your Health.

N. Beth Ragan

Chronic Disease Epidemiology Group

N. Beth Ragan
N. Beth Ragan
Project Officer
Tel (919) 541-2767
Fax (919) 541-2511
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop A3-05
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

N. Beth Ragan was an analysis programmer for the Taiwan Yucheng Children’s Study, a study of children exposed transplacentally to PCBs and PCDFs in 1979. The children had a syndrome of ectodermal defects, global persistent developmental delay and disordered behavior (Science 241:334-336, 1988). She focused on the dermatological findings: the PCB-exposed children had increased rates of dystrophic and pigmented nails, hyperpigmentation, acne, skin infections and hair loss (British J Dermatology 122:799-808, 1990).


Ragan helped manage the NC Puberty Followup study of children who were exposed to background levels of PCBs and DDT. Children completed annual self-assessments of their pubertal status with questionnaires that included simplified line drawings of the Tanner stages. Transplacental exposures to background levels of PCBs and DDE affected the weight of boys and girls at puberty, but did not affect the age of pubertal onset (J Pediatrics 136:490-496, 2000).


She was a project officer for the Treatment of Lead-exposed Children (TLC) Trial, a 4-center randomized, controlled clinical trial that studied the ability of the oral chelation drug succimer to prevent lead-induced disorder of growth, behavior and cognitive development in toddlers. TLC randomized 780 children between 13-33 months of age with blood lead levels of 20-45 g/dl. After treatment, TLC children were given regular tests of cognitive ability, behavior and neuropsychological function, until they reached the age of seven and a half years. Despite their successfully lowered blood lead levels in the six months after treatment, children on succimer scored no better on this battery of tests than did children on placebo at age five (NEJM 344:1421-1426, 2001).


Ragan is also project officer for the Study of Estrogen Activity and Development (SEAD) Soy Study, which uses three pilot studies to investigate the estrogenic effects of soy formula on infants. These studies will contribute to the development of further study of soy formula in infants and includes the following tests:


  • Ultrasonography of estrogen-responsive organs

  • Physical examinations to assess gestational age based on the conditions of estrogen-responsive tissues

  • Hormonal and biochemical measures in urine, saliva, serum and hair


In addition to her research, Ragan manages the Epidemiology Branch portfolio of Research and Development (R&D) projects. She is project officer of the Epidemiology Branch Support Services contract with Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. and its subcontract with Westat Inc. The Support Services contract specifies the technical, clerical and managerial support required to conduct a wide variety of domestic and international Epidemiology Branch studies, including questionnaire design; field work; computer assisted telephone interviewing; data analysis programming; and collection, handling, transport and storage of biological and environmental laboratory specimens. She chairs the NIEHS Specimen Coordination Committee and manages the Epidemiology Branch R&D budgets.


  • SEAD Soy Study
    ("/Rhythmyx/assembler/render?sys_contentid=36114&sys_revision=2&sys_variantid=639&sys_context=0&sys_authtype=0&sys_siteid=&sys_folderid=" sys_dependentvariantid="639" sys_dependentid="36114" inlinetype="rxhyperlink" rxinlineslot="103" sys_dependentid="36114" sys_siteid="" sys_folderid="")The SEAD Soy Study is a series of cross-sectional pilot studies designed to establish methods for future larger studies on the estrogenic effects of soy infant formulas on the developing infant.

  • Treatment of Lead-exposed Children (TLC) Trial
    ("/Rhythmyx/assembler/render?sys_contentid=35392&sys_revision=2&sys_variantid=639&sys_context=0&sys_authtype=0&sys_siteid=&sys_folderid=" sys_dependentvariantid="639" sys_dependentid="35392" inlinetype="rxhyperlink" rxinlineslot="103" sys_dependentid="35392" sys_siteid="" sys_folderid="")The TLC clinical trial compared the effect of lead chelation with succimer to placebo therapy on a variety of cognitive, behavioral and neuromotor endpoints in children of school age with baseline blood lead levels of 20-44 µg/dl.

Selected Publications

  1. Rogan WJ, Gladen BC, Hung K-L, Koong S-L, Shih L-Y, Taylor JS, Wu Y-C, Yang D, Ragan NB, Hsu C-C. Congenital poisoning by polychlorinated biphenyls and their contaminants in Taiwan. Science 241: 334-336, 1988. [Abstract ]
  2. Gladen BC, Taylor JS, Wu Y-C, Ragan, NB, Rogan WJ, Hsu C-C. Dermatological findings in children exposed transplacentally to heat-degraded polychlorinated biphenyls in Taiwan. British Journal of Dermatology 122: 799-808, 1990.[Abstract ]
  3. Gladen BC, Ragan NB, Rogan WJ. Pubertal growth and development and prenatal and lactational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene. Journal of Pediatrics 136:490-496, 2000.[Abstract ]
  4. Rogan WJ, Dietrich KN, Ware JH, Dockery DW, Salganik M, Radcliffe J, Jones RL , Ragan NB, Chisolm JJ Jr, Rhoads GG, Treatment of Lead-Exposed Children Trial Group. The effect of chelation therapy with succimer on neuropsychological development in children exposed to lead. New England Journal of Medicine 344: 1421-1426, 2001.[Abstract ][Full Text ][PDF ]
  5. Ettinger AS, Bornschein RL, Farfel M, Campbell C, Ragan NB, Rhoads GG, Brophy M, Wilkens S, Dockery DW. Assessment of cleaning to control lead dust in homes of children with moderate lead poisoning: Treatment of Lead-exposed Children Trial. Environmental Health Perspectives 110: A773-A779, 2002.[Abstract ][Full Text ][PDF ]
  6. Rogan WJ, Ragan NB. Evidence of effects of environmental chemicals on the endocrine system in children. Pediatrics 112: 247-252, 2003.[Abstract ]
  7. Rogan WJ, Ragan NB. Some evidence of effects of environmental chemicals on the endocrine system in children. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 210:659-667 (2007).[Abstract ]
  8. Bernbaum JC, Umbach DM, Ragan NB, Ballard JL, Archer JI, Schmidt-Davis H, Rogan WJ. Pilot studies of estrogen-related physical findings in infants. Environmental Health Perspectives 116:416-420 (2008).
  9. Rogan WJ, Brady MT, Ragan NB, American Academy of Pediatrics Committees on Environmental Health and Infectious Disease. Drinking water from private wells and risks to children. Pediatrics 123(6):1599-1605, 2009.[Abstract ]

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