Alzheimer’s disease abstracts

We provide here the abstracts of epidemiological studies on Alzheimer's disease and EMFs.  See also a summary of the evidence including what expert review bodies have concluded.

Am J Epidemiol. 1995 Sep 1;142(5):515-24
Occupations with exposure to electromagnetic fields: a possible risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. 

Sobel E, Davanipour Z, Sulkava R, Erkinjuntti T, Wikstrom J, Henderson VW, Buckwalter G, Bowman JD, Lee PJ.
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

The authors present analyses of data from three independent clinical series and controls indicating an association between working in occupations with probable medium to high exposure to extremely low frequency (< 300 Hz) electromagnetic fields and sporadic Alzheimer's disease. Case-control analyses were carried out using data from patients examined at the following locations: the Department of Neurology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 1982-1985; the Koskela Hospital in Helsinki, 1977-1978; and the University of Southern California site of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, 1984-1993. The predominant occupations among medium (2-10 mG or > 10 mG intermittently) to high (> 10 mG or > 100 mG intermittently) exposed cases were seamstress, dressmaker, and tailor. The results appear to be independent of education, and the sex-combined odds ratios for the three series are quite homogeneous: 2.9, 3.1, and 3.0. The odds ratio for the three series analyzed together is 3.0 (p < 0.001), with a 95% confidence interval of 1.6-5.4. The odds ratio for women is 3.8 (p < 0.001), with a 95% confidence interval of 1.7-8.6. The most obvious, possibly etiologically relevant exposure is that of electromagnetic fields, which may have biologic plausibility because they may adversely influence calcium homeostasis and/or inappropriately activate immune system cells such as microglial cells, initiating events that result in neuronal degeneration.

PMID: 7677130

Neurology. 1996 Dec;47(6):1477-81.
Elevated risk of Alzheimer's disease among workers with likely electromagnetic field exposure. 

Sobel E, Dunn M, Davanipour Z, Qian Z, Chui HC.
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA.

We conducted a case-control study of the possible association of occupations with likely exposure to electromagnetic fields and Alzheimer's disease (AD) with patients from the Alzheimer Disease Treatment and Diagnostic Center, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, Downey, CA. Patients with definite or probable AD were the case subjects (86 male, 240 female). Patients with cognitive impairment/dementia other than vascular dementia were control subjects (76 male, 76 female). The study was limited to patients who were at least age 65 at the time of their first examination at Rancho Los Amigos. The odds ratio for both sexes combined was adjusted for sex, education, and age at onset. The odds ratio for males was adjusted only for age at onset, and the odds ratio for females was adjusted for both education and age at onset. The adjusted odds ratio for both sexes was 3.93 (p = 0.006), 95% CI = (1.5 to 10.6). For males the adjusted odds ratio was 4.90 (p = 0.01), 95% CI = (1.3 to 7.9), and for females the adjusted odds ratio was 3.40 (p = 0.10), 95% CI = (0.8 to 16.0). These results are consistent with previous findings regarding the hypothesis that electromagnetic field exposure is etiologically associated with the occurrence of AD.

PMID: 8960730

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1998 Feb;24(1):46-53.
Dementia and occupational exposure to magnetic fields. 

Feychting M, Pedersen NL, Svedberg P, Floderus B, Gatz M.
Institute of Environmental Medicine, The Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present report was to assess whether occupational magnetic field exposure is a risk factor for dementia, in particular for Alzheimer's disease. METHODS: Case-control analyses were applied to 77 dementia cases, 55 of whom had Alzheimer's disease, ascertained from the population-based Swedish twin register. Two reference groups were derived, with 228 and 238 persons, respectively. Occupations were linked to a job-exposure matrix based on magnetic field measurements. Primary occupation, last occupation before reference date, and the occupation with the highest magnetic field exposure during the subject's lifetime were evaluated. RESULTS: For primary occupation, all relative risk estimates were close to unity. For last occupation, at the exposure level > or = 0.2 microT, a relative risk was found for dementia estimated at 3.3 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.3-8.6] and 3.8 (95% CI 1.4-10.2) for reference groups 1 and 2, respectively. The relative risk for Alzheimer's disease was estimated at 2.4 (95% CI 0.8-6.9) and 2.7 (95% CI 0.9-7.8), respectively. For the occupation with the highest magnetic field exposure, the relative risk estimates were close to unity for reference group 1 and slightly elevated for reference group 2. The relative risk estimates were greater for the subjects who were younger at onset (< or =75 years). CONCLUSIONS: These results only partially support previous findings, but they indicate that occupational magnetic field exposure may possibly influence the development of dementia.

PMID: 9562400

Arch Environ Health. 1998 Jan-Feb;53(1):71-4.
Electrical occupations and neurodegenerative disease: analysis of U.S. mortality data

Savitz DA, Loomis DP, Tse CK.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400, USA.

Investigators have hypothesized that occupations involving electric and magnetic field exposure are associated with a variety of health problems, including neurological disease. The authors conducted a case-control study, and they used U.S. death certificates with occupational coding to compare male cases of Alzheimer's disease (n = 256), Parkinson's disease (n = 168), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 114) with controls matched for age and calendar time. The authors selected controls in a 3:1 ratio to cases from persons who died of causes other than leukemia, brain cancer, and breast cancer. Overall associations with electrical occupations were modest (i.e., adjusted odds ratios of 1.2, 1.1, and 1.3 for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, respectively). Individual electrical occupations were associated more strongly with disease than overall electrical occupations, particularly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for which relative risks ranged from 2 to 5 across several job categories. The largest associations with all three diseases occurred for power plant operators.

PMID: 9570311

Epidemiology. 1998 Jul;9(4):398-404.
Magnetic field exposure and neurodegenerative disease mortality among electric utility workers. 

Savitz DA, Checkoway H, Loomis DP.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400 USA.

Several recent reports indicate that occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields may be associated with increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases. To address that hypothesis, we analyzed data from a cohort study of electric utility workers. We examined exposure to magnetic fields, assessed as duration of work in exposed jobs and through an index of cumulative exposure based on magnetic field measurements, in relation to mortality from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, considering both underlying and all mentioned causes of death. Adjusted mortality rate ratios based on Poisson regression models indicate no association between magnetic fields and Parkinson's disease and little support for an association with Alzheimer's disease mortality. Mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was positively associated with duration of work in exposed jobs [rate ratio = 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)= 0.7-6.0; and rate ratio = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.0-9.8, based on underlying cause for 5 - < 20 years and > or = 20 years vs < 5 years, respectively], as well as with cumulative magnetic field exposure with a > or = 20-year lag (rate ratio = 2.3, 95% CI = 0.8-6.6; and rate ratio = 3.0, 95% CI = 1.0-9.2, for exposure in the middle and upper intervals relative to the lowest interval, respectively).

PMID: 9647903

Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Aug 15;148(4):362-8.
Mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, other chronic disorders, and electric shocks among utility workers. 

Johansen C, Olsen JH.
Division for Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen.

Above-average exposure to electromagnetic fields has been associated with certain nonmalignant medical conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, other neurologic diseases, depressive symptoms, and suicide. The authors conducted a nationwide mortality study in Denmark of 21,236 men employed in utility companies between 1900 and 1993. The causes of death were ascertained for January 1, 1974, through December 31, 1993, and cause-specific mortality was analyzed by latency and estimated levels of exposure to 50-Hz electromagnetic fields. Overall, 3,540 deaths were observed as compared with 3,709 expected from national mortality rates, yielding a standardized mortality ratio of 0.96 (95% confidence interval 0.93-0.99). A slight excess in mortality from cancer was due to deaths from cancers of the lung and pleural cavity, probably because of exposure to asbestos. A twofold increase in mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and a tenfold increase in mortality from electrical accidents were seen on the basis of 14 and 10 deaths, respectively, the former increasing with time since first employment in a utility company. The excess mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis seems to be associated with above-average levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields and may be due to repeated episodes with electric shocks.

PMID: 9717880

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1999 Jul-Sep;13(3):165-70.
Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and Alzheimer disease. 

Graves AB, Rosner D, Echeverria D, Yost M, Larson EB.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, Tampa 33612-3805, USA.

The association between occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and Alzheimer disease (AD) was examined. Subjects were identified from a large health maintenance organization in Seattle, Washington, and matched by age, sex, and proxy type. A complete occupational history was obtained from proxies and controls. Following the interview, two industrial hygienists (IHs) rated exposures to EMF for each job blinded to case-control status. Exposures to EMF were rated as probable intermittent exposure or probable exposure for extended periods to levels above threshold. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate the risk of AD given EMF exposure stratified by IH. The odds ratios for ever having been exposed to EMF were 0.74 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.29-1.92] and 0.95 (95% CI 0.27-2.43) for each IH, adjusting for age and education. No dose-response effect was noted. Agreement between the two IHs for ever having been exposed to EMF was good (kappa = 0.57, p < 0.0001). This study was unable to support an association between EMF and AD.

PMID: 10485576

Epidemiology. 2000 Sep;11(5):539-43.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields and risk of central nervous system disease in utility workers. 

Johansen C.
Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, the Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen.

Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields has been associated with neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, senile dementia, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease. I studied the incidence of central nervous system diseases in 30,631 persons employed in Danish utility companies between 1900 and 1993. I linked the cohort to the nationwide, population-based Danish National Register of Patients and compared the numbers of cases of these diseases observed between 1978 and 1993 with the corresponding rates in the general population. In addition I fit to the data on utility workers a multiplicative Poisson regression model in relation to estimated levels of exposure to 50-Hz electromagnetic fields. Overall, there was an increase in risk for senile dementia and motor neuron diseases combined. The incidences of Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, and other diseases of the central nervous system were essentially unrelated to exposure to electromagnetic fields. A decreased risk of epilepsy compared with the general population probably reflects a healthy worker effect; I observed an increased risk of epilepsy based on internal comparisons. The increased risk for senile dementia and motorneuron diseases may be associated with above-average levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

PMID: 10955406

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2002 Feb;28(1):42-8.
Occupational exposure to magnetic fields in case-referent studies of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Noonan CW, Reif JS, Yost M, Touchstone J.
Department of Environmental Health, Colorado State University, United States.

OBJECTIVES: Case-referent studies of Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease were conducted to explore the relationship between these neurodegenerative diseases and occupational exposure to magnetic fields. Three methods of exposure assessment were used for the comparison, and the consistency of findings between these approaches was evaluated. METHODS: Separate case-referent sets were formed from among recorded deaths of males in the state of Colorado for the years 1987 through 1996. The following three methods of exposure assessment were used: a dichotomous grouping of electrical versus nonelectrical occupations, a three-tiered grouping of potential magnetic-field exposure based on a combination of job title and industry, and categories of exposure based on the means of the magnetic fields estimated from a job-exposure matrix. RESULTS: A positive association was observed for Parkinson's disease with all the methods of magnetic-field exposure assessment, the odds ratio (OR) for the highest category in the job-exposure matrix being 1.50 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.02-2.19]. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was associated with a history of electrical occupations (OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.29-4.09) but not with magnetic-field exposure as estimated by the job-exposure matrix. No consistent associations with magnetic fields were observed for Alzheimer's disease. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides some support for an association between occupational magnetic-field exposure and Parkinson's disease, but the findings are novel and require replication. Associations with the other neurodegenerative diseases were inconsistent and dependent on the method of exposure assessment.

PMID: 11871851

Epidemiology. 2003 Jul;14(4):420-6; discussion 427-8.

Neurodegenerative diseases in welders and other workers exposed to high levels of magnetic fields.

Håkansson N, Gustavsson P, Johansen C, Floderus B.
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

BACKGROUND: Previous work has suggested an increase in risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease among workers exposed to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF). We evaluated the relation between ELF-MF from occupational exposures and mortality from neurodegenerative diseases. METHODS: The study was based on a cohort of Swedish engineering industry workers, comprising 537,692 men and 180,529 women. The cohort was matched against the 3 most recent censuses and The Causes of Death Registry. Levels of ELF-MF exposure were obtained by linking occupation according to the censuses to a job exposure matrix. We used 4 levels of exposure and considered both the primary and contributing causes of death, 1985-96. RESULTS: The risk of Alzheimer's disease as primary or contributing cause of death increased with increasing exposure to ELF-MF among both men and women, with a relative risk (RR) of 4.0 and a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 1.4-11.7 in the highest exposure group for both sexes combined. There was a RR of 2.2 (95% CI: 1.0-4.7) for ALS in the highest exposure group with the suggestion of an exposure-response relationship. No evidence of increased risk was seen for Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support previous observations of an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and ALS among employees occupationally exposed to ELF-MF. Further studies based on morbidity data are warranted.

PMID: 12843765]

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2003 Jul-Sep;17(3):139-45.
Risk factors for Alzheimer disease: a population-based case-control study in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Harmanci H, Emre M, Gurvit H, Bilgic B, Hanagasi H, Gurol E, Sahin H, Tinaz S.
Department of Public Health, Marmara University Medical Faculty, Istanbul University, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey.

The objective is to study risk factors for Alzheimer disease (AD) in Istanbul, Turkey. This is a population-based case-control study. We screened people over age 70 in the community for cognitive impairment. The screen positives and a proportion of screen negatives underwent neurologic examination in the second phase. Cases were 57 "probable" AD patients and controls were 127 cognitively normal individuals identified by neurologic examination. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Having a university/college degree had a protective effect on AD risk (OR = 0.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02-0.50). Exposure to occupational electromagnetic field had an OR of 4.02 (95% CI = 1.02-15.78). Use of electricity for residential heating also showed elevated risk (OR = 2.77, 95% CI = 1.12-6.85). Our results suggest that having a higher education is protective from AD and that electromagnetic field exposure at work or at home is a significant risk factor.

PMID: 14512826

Epidemiology. 2003 Jul;14(4):413-9; discussion 427-8.
Occupational magnetic field exposure and neurodegenerative disease

Feychting M, Jonsson F, Pedersen NL, Ahlbom A.
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

BACKGROUND: Several studies have identified occupational exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) as a potential risk factor for neurodegenerative disease, but the evidence is contradictory and inconclusive. METHODS: We conducted a cohort study to explore these associations. We studied all economically active individuals in the Swedish 1980 census (4,812,646 subjects), and followed them for neurodegenerative disease mortality from 1981 through 1995. Information about occupation was available for 1970 and 1980. A job-exposure matrix based on magnetic field measurements was used to assess EMF exposure. RESULTS: An increased risk of Alzheimer's disease mortality was observed among men exposed both in 1970 and 1980 (relative risk = 2.3; 95% confidence interval = 1.6-3.3 for exposure >/=0.5 microT). The associations were most pronounced for early-onset Alzheimer's disease mortality or with follow-up limited to 10 years after the last known occupation. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was not associated with EMF exposure, but the risk estimate with "electrical and electronics work" was 1.4 (95% confidence interval = 1.1-1.9). CONCLUSIONS: Our study gives some support to the hypothesis that EMF exposure increases the risk of early-onset Alzheimer's disease, and suggests that magnetic field exposure may represent a late-acting influence in the disease process. Electric shock is an unlikely explanation for the increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in "electrical and electronics work" in this study.

PMID: 12843764

Epidemiology. 2004 Nov;15(6):687-94.
Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and risk of Alzheimer's disease

Qiu C, Fratiglioni L, Karp A, Winblad B, Bellander T.
Aging Research Center, Division of Geriatric Epidemiology and Medicine, Department of Neurotec, Karolinska Institutet, S-113 82 Stockholm, Sweden.

BACKGROUND: Extremely-low-frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) exposure is suspected to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Such fields are present in the vicinity of electrical motors and other electric appliances containing coils. METHODS: We investigated lifetime occupational ELF-MF exposure in relation to Alzheimer's disease and dementia among a community dementia-free cohort (n = 931) age 75 years and older in Stockholm, Sweden. This cohort was followed from 1987-1989 until 1994-1996 to detect dementia cases (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, revised 3rd edition criteria). Information on lifetime job history was obtained by interview, usually of next of kin. ELF-MF exposure was assessed using a job-exposure matrix, measurement on historical equipment, and expert estimation. We analyzed the data with Cox models controlling for potential confounders. RESULTS: Dementia was diagnosed in 265 subjects, including 202 with Alzheimer's disease. Among men, ELF-MF exposure > or=0.2 microT in lifetime principal job was related to multivariate-adjusted relative risks of 2.3 (95% CI = 1.0-5.1) for Alzheimer's disease and 2.0 (1.1-3.7) for dementia. We found no association among women. A similar sex-specific pattern was seen for the associations with average ELF-MF exposure throughout the work life. A dose-response relation was suggested in men, with multivariate-adjusted relative risks of 2.4 (0.8-6.8) for Alzheimer's disease and 2.5 (1.1-5.6) for dementia for the upper tertile of lifetime average exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term occupational exposure to a higher ELF-MF level may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in men. Similar patterns were not seen in women, which may in part be the result of a greater exposure misclassification in women than in men.

PMID: 15475717

Am J Ind Med. 2005 Jul;48(1):63-77.
Potential occupational risks for neurodegenerative diseases. 

Park RM, Schulte PA, Bowman JD, Walker JT, Bondy SC, Yost MG, Touchstone JA, Dosemeci M.
Education and Information Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, MS C-15, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA.

BACKGROUND: Associations between occupations and neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) may be discernable in death certificate data. METHODS: Hypotheses generated from 1982 to 1991 study were tested in data from 22 states for the years 1992-1998. Specific occupations and exposures to pesticides, solvents, oxidative stressors, magnetic fields, and welding fumes were evaluated. RESULTS: About one third (26/87) of the occupations hypothesized with neurodegenerative associations had statistically significant elevated mortality odds ratios (MOR) for the same outcome. Occupations with the largest MORs were (a) for presenile dementia (PSD)-dentists, graders/sorters (non-agricultural), and clergy; (b) for Alzheimer's disease (AD)-bank tellers, clergy, aircraft mechanics, and hairdressers; (c) for Parkinson's disease (PD)-biological scientists, clergy, religious workers, and post-secondary teachers; and (d) for motor neuron disease (MND)-veterinarians, hairdressers, and graders and sorters (non-agricultural). Teachers had significantly elevated MORs for all four diseases, and hairdressers for three of the four. Non-horticultural farmers below age 65 had elevated PD (MOR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.47-3.26), PSD (MOR = 2.22, 95% CI = 1.10-4.05), and AD (MOR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.04-2.81). Sixty hertz magnetic fields exhibited significant exposure-response for AD and, below age 65, for PD (MOR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.14-2.98) and MND (MOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.10-2.39). Welding had elevated PD mortality below age 65 (MOR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.08-2.75). CONCLUSIONS: Support was observed for hypothesized excess neurodegenerative disease associated with a variety of occupations, 60 Hz magnetic fields and welding. Published 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID: 15940722

Occup Environ Med. 2007 Jul 11. [Epub ahead of print]
Mortality from Alzheimer's, motor neurone and Parkinson's disease in relation to magnetic field exposure: findings from the study of UK electricity generation and transmission workers, 1973-2004

Sorahan T, Kheifets L.
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

BACKGROUND: There are a number of reports linking magnetic field exposure to increased risks of Alzheimer's disease and motor neurone disease. METHODS: The mortality experienced by a cohort of 83,997 employees of the former Central Electricity Generating Board of England and Wales was investigated for the period 1973-2004. All employees were employed for at least six months with some employment in the period 1973-82. Computerised work histories were available for 79,972 study subjects for the period 1971-93. Information on job and facility (location) were used to estimate exposures to magnetic fields. Two analytical approaches were used to evaluate risks, indirect standardisation (n = 83,997) and Poisson regression (n = 79,972). RESULTS: Based on serial mortality rates for England and Wales, deaths from Alzheimer's disease and motor neurone disease were unexceptional. There was an excess of deaths from Parkinson's disease of borderline significance. No statistically significant trends were shown for risks of any of these diseases to increase with lifetime cumulative exposure to magnetic fields (RR per 10mT.y with 95% confidence interval: Alzheimer's disease 1.10 (0.90 to 1.33); motor neurone disease 1.06 (0.86 to 1.32); Parkinson's disease 0.88 (0.74 to 1.05)) CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence that UK electricity generation and transmission workers have suffered elevated risks from neurodegenerative diseases as a consequence of exposure to magnetic fields.

PMID: 17626136

Neuroepidemiology. 2007;28(4):197-206. Epub 2007 Sep 11.
Mortality from neurodegenerative disease and exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields: 31 years of observations on Swiss railway employees. 

Röösli M, Lörtscher M, Egger M, Pfluger D, Schreier N, Lörtscher E, Locher P, Spoerri A, Minder C.
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.

AIMS: The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between extremely low-frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) exposure and mortality from several neurodegenerative conditions in Swiss railway employees. METHODS: We studied a cohort of 20,141 Swiss railway employees with 464,129 person-years of follow-up between 1972 and 2002. For each individual, cumulative exposure was calculated from on-site measurements and modelling of past exposure. We compared cause-specific mortality in highly exposed train drivers (mean exposure: 21 microT) with less exposed occupational groups (for example station masters: 1 microT). RESULTS: The hazard ratio for train drivers compared to station masters was 1.96 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.98-3.92] for senile dementia and 3.15 (95% CI = 0.90-11.04) for Alzheimer's disease. For every 10 microT years of cumulative exposure senile dementia mortality increased by 5.7% (95% CI = 1.3-10.4), Alzheimer's disease by 9.4% (95% CI = 2.7-16.4) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by 2.1% (95% CI = -6.8 to 11.7). There was no evidence for an increase in mortality from Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests a link between exposure to ELF-MF and Alzheimer's disease and indicates that ELF-MF might act in later stages of the disease process. (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

PMID: 17851258

BMC Neurol. 2007 Jun 9;7:13.
A case-control study of occupational magnetic field exposure and Alzheimer's disease: results from the California Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Centers. 

Davanipour Z, Tseng CC, Lee PJ, Sobel E.
Department of Neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

BACKGROUND: A few studies have investigated a possible relationship between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and occupations with extremely low frequency magnetic field (MF) exposure. The purpose of this study was to further evaluate this possible association in a large patient population with expert diagnoses. METHODS: Subjects came from the 8 of the 9 California Alzheimer's Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centers not previously used in an earlier study. Cases had probable or definite AD; controls primarily had a dementia-related problem other than vascular dementia (VaD) and some were not demented upon expert examination. Occupations were classified as having low, medium or high MF exposure, based upon previous research, replicating the exposure methodology used in our previous published studies. RESULTS: Occupational information was available for 98.6% of the 1527 cases and 98.5% of the 404 controls with age-at-initial examination known to be at least 65. Among cases, 2.1% and 5.4% had high and medium occupational MF exposure, respectively, while among controls the percentages were 0.8% and 3.0%. In univariate analyses, the odds ratio (OR) for subjects with medium or high MF exposures combined was 2.1 (p < 0.01), while for high exposure alone the OR was 2.9 (p < 0.08). Two models were used in multivariate analyses, with gender, stroke, and either age-at-onset or age-at-initial examination as covariates. The ORs for MF exposure varied little between the two models: 2.2 (p < 0.02) and 1.9 (p < 0.03) for medium or high exposure; 2.7 (p < 0.11) and 3.2 (p < 0.12) for high exposure. OR estimates for females were higher than for males, but not significantly higher. There were no material differences between the ORs resulting from univariate and multivariate analyses. CONCLUSION: Elevated occupational MF exposure was associated with an increased risk of AD. Based on previous published studies, the results likely pertain to the general population.

PMID: 17559686

Occup Environ Med. 2007 Feb;64(2):108-14. Epub 2006 Oct 16.
Occupational exposure to low frequency magnetic fields and dementia: a case-control study. 

Seidler A, Geller P, Nienhaus A, Bernhardt T, Ruppe I, Eggert S, Hietanen M, Kauppinen T, Frölich L.
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), Berlin, Germany.

BACKGROUND: Several studies point to a potential aetiological relevance to dementia of exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields, but the evidence is inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: To further examine the relationship between low frequency magnetic fields and dementia. METHODS: From 23 general practices, 195 patients with dementia were recruited. Of these, 108 had possible Alzheimer's disease, 59 had possible vascular dementia and 28 had secondary or unclassified dementia. A total of 229 controls were recruited: 122 population controls and 107 ambulatory patients free from dementia. Data were gathered in a structured personal interview; in cases, the interview was administered to the next of kin. Exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields was assessed by expert rating. To identify occupations suspected to be associated with dementia, major occupations were a priori formed. Odds ratios were calculated using logistic regression, to control for age, region, sex, dementia in parents and smoking. RESULTS: Exposure to magnetic fields was not significantly associated with dementia; restriction of the analysis to cases with possible Alzheimer's disease or possible vascular dementia did not lead to statistically significant results. We found an increased risk of dementia in blue-collar occupations (electrical and electronics workers, metal workers, construction workers, food and beverage processors and labourers). CONCLUSIONS: Our study does not support a strong association between occupational exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields and dementia. Further studies should consider the relationship between blue-collar work and the late development of dementia.

PMID: 17043077

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Nov 5. [Epub ahead of print]
Residence Near Power Lines and Mortality From Neurodegenerative Diseases: Longitudinal Study of the Swiss Population

Huss A, Spoerri A, Egger M, Röösli M; for the Swiss National Cohort Study.
The relation between residential magnetic field exposure from power lines and mortality from neurodegenerative conditions was analyzed among 4.7 million persons of the Swiss National Cohort (linking mortality and census data), covering the period 2000-2005. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze the relation of living in the proximity of 220-380 kV power lines and the risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, with adjustment for a range of potential confounders. Overall, the adjusted hazard ratio for Alzheimer's disease in persons living within 50 m of a 220-380 kV power line was 1.24 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 1.92) compared with persons who lived at a distance of 600 m or more. There was a dose-response relation with respect to years of residence in the immediate vicinity of power lines and Alzheimer's disease: Persons living at least 5 years within 50 m had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.51 (95% CI: 0.91, 2.51), increasing to 1.78 (95% CI: 1.07, 2.96) with at least 10 years and to 2.00 (95% CI: 1.21, 3.33) with at least 15 years. The pattern was similar for senile dementia. There was little evidence for an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis.