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Epidemiological study (observational study)

Overhead high-voltage cables and recurrent headache and depressions.

Published in: Practitioner 1988; 232 (1447): 435-436

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A study was conducted in UK to investigate the association between power lines and recurrent headache and depressions.

Further details

Questionnaires were delivered personally to 120 houses in the· study area and to 120 houses in the control area and three days later the questionnaires were collected.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:
  • prevalence

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 distance from power line: > 4,8 km
Group 2 distance from power line: < 20 m
Group 3 distance from power line: 20 - 40 m
Group 4 distance from power line: 40 - 60 m
Group 5 distance from power line: 60 - 80 m
Group 6 distance from power line: 80 - 100 m

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Characteristics: residents of a group of houses situated close to overhead power lines of 132 kV
  • Observation period: not stated
  • Study location: UK

Study size

Participants 132
Participation rate 60 %
Statistical analysis method:
  • Chi-square test

Conclusion (acc. to author)

15 out of 132 participants of the exposed group reported recurrent headache or migraine, compared with 1 of 94 in the control group. 10 participants reporting recurrent headache lived in houses in a distance of 60-80 m to the power line. Analysis revealed that people who are younger, live close to a power line and have more days off work are significantly more likely to suffer from headaches or migraines. The sex of the person and the number of years resident in the house did not affect the incidence of headaches. Additionally, 9 patients in the exposed group reported depression (of whom 7 lived within 40 m of the power line) and one in the control group.

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