Childhood leukaemia and Downs

Children with Down's syndrome have a higher risk of getting childhood leukaemia, about 20 times higher.

A study from Mexico has looked at children with Down's, and found that children with Down's who are exposed to magnetic fields appear to have a high risk of leukaemia than children with Down's who are not exposed. This would appear to be a similar proportionate increase in risk as suggested by the pooled analyses for children in general. This is just one study, however, and needs replicating elsewhere.

Epidemiology. 2007 Jan;18(1):158-61

Magnetic fields and acute leukemia in children with Down syndrome.

Mejia-Arangure JM, Fajardo-Gutierrez A, Perez-Saldivar ML, Gorodezky C, Martinez-Avalos A, Romero-Guzman L, Campo-Martinez MA, Flores-Lujano J, Salamanca-Gomez F, Velasquez-Perez L.

Epidemiologia, Clinica, Hospital de Pediatria, Centro Medico Nacional, Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico. juan.mejiaa@imss.gob.mx

BACKGROUND: We analyzed effects of exposure to magnetic fields on the expression of acute leukemia in children with Down syndrome (who have a 20-fold higher risk of leukemia).
METHODS: We performed a case-control study that included 42 children with both acute leukemia and Down syndrome as cases and 124 healthy children with Down syndrome as controls. We obtained demographic information concerning the children and took spot measurements of magnetic fields at each residence.
RESULTS: The odds ratio for direct measurements of magnetic fields >/=6.00 mG was 3.7 (95% confidence interval = 1.05-13.1).
CONCLUSION: The association between magnetic fields and leukemia in children with Down syndrome suggests the possibility of a causal role for magnetic fields in the etiology of leukemia among a genetically susceptible subgroup of children.