Faculty & Staff

Elena Herrero Hernandez, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientist, CROET
Professor of Occupational Neurotoxicology, PhD course on Neurotoxicology and Psychopharmacology, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain
RJH 1501E

Read more about Dr. Herrero Hernandez's research

Research Interests

I am interested on occupational/environmental causes of neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim of prevention, treatment and understanding pathogenic mechanisms. My research on occupational manganism documented through clinical, neuroradiological and toxicological assessments its possibility of regression by chelating treatment. This work also allowed to diagnose and treat successfully and definitively a child affected by life-threatening manganese-induced status epilepticus resistant to antiepileptic drugs.

In 1998, upon observing a patient occupationally exposed to herbicides who developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease became my personal and scientific priority, so, thanks to the collaboration of Prof. Adriano Chiò (Neuroscience, University of Turin), I started a case-control study focused on elucidating occupational and environmental risk factors in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The study includes whole-life occupational, clinical and lifestyle history collection for all participants, as well as metal determination (Fe, Mn, Pb, Hg, Al, Cu, Zn, Se, Cd, Cr) on blood/serum by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in a subgroup of patients and matched controls. To date, results indicate a statistically significant excess of ALS incidence among welders.

The role of metals as possible triggers of neurodegeneration in prion diseases and multiple system atrophy are among my most recent research fields, always with the aim of prevention, treatment and understanding.

International collaborations (ITC-ILO Turin, Italy; Rovira I Virgili University, Reus, Spain) give me the opportunity of conducting research and training in occupational health and safety to pursue safe and healthy working conditions in industrialized and developing countries.


Dr. Elena Herrero Hernández graduated in General Medicine and specialized in Occupational Health at the University of Turin, Italy. She was awarded a 4 years grant by Compagnia di San Paolo (Turin, Italy), to support her PhD in Pharmacology and social-environmental Toxicology at the University of Palermo, Italy, and joined CROET in February 2007.

Selected Publications

Baade PD, Herrero Hernández E, Freedman DM, Smithers BM, Fritschi L. No Role for Melanoma Treatment in the Association between Melanoma and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Parkinson's Disease. Neuroepidemiology. 2010 ;35:303-304. PMID: 20962539  

Aschner M, Erikson K, Herrero Hernandez E, Tjalkens R. Manganese and its role in Parkinson’s disease: from transport to neuropathology. Neuromolecular Med. 2009;11(4):252-66. PMID: 19657747

Herrero Hernandez E.Pigmentation genes link Parkinson's disease to melanoma, opening a window on both etiologies. Med Hypotheses. 2009; 72: 280-284. PMID: 19027242

Herrero Hernandez E. On the track of the white tiger: Pigmentation could be linked to prion diseases, and location explains why. Med Hypotheses. 2009;73:309-311. PMID: 19423237

Herrero Hernandez E. Pigmentation as a clue to understand Parkinson’s disease and melanoma. Letter to the Editor. Ann Neurol. 2009; 65:759. PMID: 19557863

Herrero Hernandez E, Discalzi G. Letter to the Editor, in response to Kumar et al. Hypermanganesemia, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, brain abscess: the hepatic connection. Neurology. 2009:73;405. PMID: 19652148

Baade PD, Herrero Hernandez E, Freedman DM, Smithers M, Fritschi L. Association between melanoma, ALS and PD- The possible role of treatment. In press, Neuroepidemiology (Ms. No. 201007006).

Herrero Hernández E, Discalzi G, Valentini C, Venturi F, Chiò A, Rossi L, Sacchetti A, Pira E. Follow-up of patients affected by manganese-induced parkinsonism after treatment with CaNa2EDTA. Neurotoxicology, 2006; 27 issue 3: 333-339.

Herrero Hernández E, Casalone C, Bozzetta E, Iulini B, Martucci B, Manea B, Davari A, Ghiglione A, Spinelli P, Bergo V, Pira E, Caramelli M. Exploring the metal-triggered hypothesis in scrapie and BSE. Prion 2006, October 3-6, Turin, Italy. Conference proceedings: PA-25:254.

Porcario C, Ferraris MM, Casalone C, Iulini B, Perazzini AZ, Pira E, Manea B, Herrero Hernández E, Bozzetta E, Caramelli M, Valentini C. Identification of metal accumulation in brains of healthy and scrapie-affected sheep by magnetic resonance imaging. Prion 2006, October 3-6, Turin, Italy. Conference proceedings: DIA-42:389. Abstract.

Giordana MT, D'Agostino C, Valentini C, Orsi L, Novero D, Caroppo P, Herrero Hernández E. Iron load and glial cytoplasmic inclusions in multiple system atrophy. XVI International congress of Neuropathology, San Francisco, Sept. 10-15, 2006. Conference proceedings.

Beghi E. on behalf of the European ALS Register Group (Authors listed in section 14). 127th ENMC International Workshop: Implementation of a European Registry of ALS. Neuromuscular Disorders 2006, 16: 46-53.

Valentini MC, Venturi F, Perrucci I, Calvo A, Herrero Hernández E, Terreni A, Mutani R, Chiò A for the Turin ALS Research Group. Specificity and sensitivity of corticospinal tracts hyperintensity as neuroimaging sign of ALS. 41st Meeting of the Italian Association of Neuropathology jointly with the French society of Neuropathology. Clinical Neuropathology 24/3 May-June 2005:152.

Chiò A, Herrero Hernández E, Mora G, Di Vito N, Carmellino C, Valentini C, Lequio L, Discalzi G, Pira E. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and optic neuropathy after acute exposure to a methanol-containing solvent mixture. ALS and other Motor Neuron Disorders 2004;5:188-191.

Pira E, Discalzi G, Herrero Hernández E. Occupational exposures and neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiology, 2004;15:253-254.

E. Herrero Hernández, G. Discalzi, L. Jarre, P. Dassi. Manganese intoxication the cause of inexplicable epileptic seizures in a 3 years old child. Neurotoxicology 2003, 24(4-5): 633-639.

Herrero Hernández E., Valentini MC, Discalzi G. T1 hyperintensity in basal ganglia at brain MRI: are different pathologies sharing a common mechanism? Neurotoxicology, 2002, 23; 669-674.

A. Chiò, E. Herrero Hernández, G. Discalzi, P. Ghiglione, N. Di Vito, A. Calvo, M.Vercellino, F. Plano, R. Mutani. Conjugal Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: suggestion for the implication of environmental factors. ALS and Other Motor Neuron Disorders, 2001; 2: 165-166.

Discalzi G, Pira E, Herrero E, Valentini C, Turbiglio M, Meliga F. Occupational manganese parkinsonism: Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical patterns following CaNa2EDTA chelation. Neurotoxicology, 21(5): 863-866, 2000.