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December/January 2007/2008 (vol. 04/4)

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Research Plus

Alzheimer’s disease from occupational exposure

A meta-analysis of possible occupational exposures linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease identified 22 research papers meeting inclusion criteria. A ‘global quality index’ (GQI) was calculated for each paper, based, for example, on definitions and cohort follow-up, selection bias, control of confounding variables and exposure measurement. All but one of the case-control studies had GQIs below 50%; five scored below 25%. Common problems include miscalculation of exposure, misclassification of disease and selection bias. There was evidence for an association of occupational exposure to pesticides with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease; inconsistent evidence for associations with electromagnetic fields and solvents; and no evidence for lead and aluminium.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2007; 64; 723–732.  http://oem.bmj.com/content/64/11/723.abstract

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Occupational Health at Work December/January 2007/2008 (vol. 04/4) pp38