Study type: Epidemiological study

Residential distance from high-voltage overhead power lines and risk of Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease: a population-based case-control study in a metropolitan area of Northern Italy. epidem.

Published in: Int J Epidemiol 2019 [in press]

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in Italy to evaluate the possible association between exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields generated by high-voltage overhead power lines and Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Further details

To test the validity of the study design, a further group of cases and controls has been introduced to study the association between exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and diabetes mellitus, for which there is currently no evidence in the literature.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Group 1 distance between residence and power line: < 50 m
Group 2 distance between residence and power line: 50 - 199 m
Group 3 distance between residence and power line: 200 - 599 m
Reference group 4 distance between residence and power line: ≥ 600 m

Population

Case group

Control group

Other:

9,835 persons with Alzheimer's disease and 39,340 controls, 6,810 persons with Parkinson's disease and 27,240 controls

Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Statistically non-significant slightly increased risks were observed for Alzheimer's disease (OR 1.11, CI 0.95-1.30) or for Parkinson’s disease (OR 1.09, CI 0.92–1.30) in residents living < 50 m to high voltage power lines compared to residents at a distance ≥ 600 m.
The overlap of the results obtained in relation to diabetes mellitus compared with those already reported in the literature (no association with exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and strong association with socio-economic deprivation) confirms the overall soundness of the study design used.
The authors conclude that the finding of a weak association between exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and neurodegenerative diseases suggests the continuation of research on this topic. Moreover, the low consistency between the results of the already existing studies emphasizes the importance of increasingly refined study designs.

Study funded by

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