Journal Article

Prospective Study of Occupation and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Mortality

M. G. Weisskopf, M. L. McCullough, N. Morozova, E. E. Calle, M. J. Thun and A. Ascherio

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 162, issue 12, pages 1146-1152
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Prospective Study of Occupation and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Mortality

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Occupational exposures are suspected of contributing to the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but results of epidemiologic studies have been inconsistent. The authors prospectively assessed the relation between occupation and ALS mortality among more than 1 million participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II of the American Cancer Society. Follow-up from 1989 through 2002 identified 507 ALS deaths among men and 430 among women. Adjusted rate ratios were calculated by using Mantel-Haenszel weights and Cox proportional hazards. Among men, elevated ALS mortality was found for programmers (rate ratio = 4.55, 95% confidence interval: 1.46, 14.2; p = 0.009) and laboratory technicians (rate ratio = 1.96, 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 3.66; p = 0.04). Occupations previously associated with increased risk of ALS for which no increased risk was found included farmers, electricians, and welders, although the numbers of electricians (eight ALS deaths) and welders (two ALS deaths) were small. Among women, only machine assemblers had significantly increased ALS mortality (rate ratio = 2.81, 95% confidence interval: 1.05, 7.53; p = 0.04). Results, which suggest that male programmers and laboratory technicians and female machine assemblers may be at increased risk of death from ALS, should be interpreted cautiously, however, because they are based on small numbers.

Keywords: motor neuron disease; occupations; prospective studies; ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; CI, confidence interval; CPS-II, Cancer Prevention Study II; EMF, electromagnetic fields; RR, rate ratio

Journal Article.  4412 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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