Exposure to environmental toxins and the risk of sporadic motor neuron disease: an expanded Australian case-control study.
ABSTRACT It remains unclear what role environmental toxins play in sporadic motor neuron disease (SMND) and its most common subtype, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS). Most previous studies of this issue have contained only small numbers of SMND cases. We sought to re-examine possible associations between toxins and SMND in a large Australian case-control study.
Questionnaire data were available from 787 patients with SMND (614 with SALS) and 778 non-related controls. Individuals were asked whether they had been exposed to metals or chemicals/solvents at work or to herbicides/pesticides. Chi-square tests with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for responses, and significance levels were corrected for multiple testing.
Men were more likely to acquire SALS if they worked with metals (OR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.24-3.07) or chemicals/solvents (OR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.46-2.61) or if they had been exposed to herbicides or pesticides (OR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.30-2.39). Women who had worked with chemicals or solvents also appeared to be at increased risk of acquiring SALS (OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.22-2.40).
These results support previous reports that exposures to metals or chemicals are associated with SMND. A suggested protocol for future multinational studies of environmental toxins and SMND is presented.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and exposure to rural environments. Studies were identified through OVID MEDLINE and EMBASE search up to September 2013 using as keywords rural residence, farmers, and pesticide exposure. Twenty-two studies were included for this meta-analysis. Summary odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using random effect model by type of exposure index, and subgroup analyses were conducted according to study design, gender, region, case ascertainment, and exposure assessment. The risk of ALS was significantly increased with pesticide exposure (OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.22-1.70) and with farmers (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.17-1.73), but was not significant with rural residence (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.84-1.87). The risk estimates for subgroup analysis between pesticide exposure and ALS indicated a significant positive association with men (OR, 1.96), and in studies using El Escorial criteria for ALS definition (OR, 1.63) and expert judgment for pesticide exposure (OR, 2.04) as well. No significant publication bias was observed. Our findings support the association of pesticide exposure and an increased risk for ALS, stressing that the use of more specific exposure information resulted in more significant associations.Journal of Korean medical science. 12/2014; 29(12):1610-7.
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ABSTRACT: Damage to the locus ceruleus, with a subsequent decrease of CNS noradrenaline, occurs in a wide range of neurodegenerative, demyelinating and psychiatric disorders. The cause of the initial locus ceruleus damage remains unknown. Recently, inorganic mercury was found to enter human locus ceruleus neurons selectively. This has led to the formulation of a new hypothesis as to the cause of these disorders. Toxicants enter locus ceruleus neurons selectively, aided by the extensive exposure these neurons have to CNS capillaries, as well as by stressors that upregulate locus ceruleus activity. The resulting noradrenaline dysfunction affects a wide range of CNS cells and can trigger a number of neurodegenerative (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neuron disease), demyelinating (multiple sclerosis), and psychiatric (major depression and bipolar disorder) conditions. This hypothesis proposes that environmental toxicants entering the locus ceruleus can give rise to a variety of CNS disorders. Proposals are made for experiments to gain further evidence for this hypothesis. If it is shown that toxicants in the locus ceruleus are responsible for these conditions, attempts can be made to prevent the toxicant exposures or to remove the toxicants from the nervous system.Medical Hypotheses 11/2013; · 1.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The cause of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS) remains unknown. We attempted to find out if occupational exposure to toxicants plays a part in the pathogenesis of this disease. In an Australia-wide case-control study we compared the lifetime occupations of 611 SALS and 775 control individuals. Occupations were coded using country-specific as well as international classifications. The risk of SALS for each occupation was calculated with odds ratios using logistic regression. In addition, the literature was searched for possible toxicant links between our findings and previously-reported occupational associations with SALS. Male occupations in our study that required lower skills and tasks tended to have increased risks of SALS, and conversely, those occupations that required higher skills and tasks had decreased risks of SALS. Of all the occupations, only truck drivers, where exposure to diesel exhaust is common, maintained an increased risk of SALS throughout all occupational groups. Another large case-control study has also found truck drivers to be at risk of SALS, and almost two-thirds of occupations, as well as military duties, that have previously been associated with SALS have potential exposure to diesel exhaust. In conclusion, two of the largest case-control studies of SALS have now found that truck drivers have an increased risk of SALS. Since exposure to diesel exhaust is common in truck drivers, as well as in other occupations that have been linked to SALS, exposure to this toxicant may underlie some of the occupations that are associated with SALS.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e80993. · 3.53 Impact Factor