Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Does Alzheimer's Really Increase with Duration of Living Near Power Lines?

American Journal of Epidemiology 2009 169(2):167-175; doi:10.1093/aje/kwn

Residence Near Power Lines and Mortality From Neurodegenerative Diseases: Longitudinal Study of the Swiss Population
Anke Huss, Adrian Spoerri, Matthias Egger, Martin Röösli and for the Swiss National Cohort Study
Correspondence to Dr. Anke Huss, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland (e-mail:
The relation between residential magnetic field exposure from power lines and mortality from neurodegenerative conditions was analyzed among 4.7 million persons of the Swiss National Cohort (linking mortality and census data), covering the period 2000–2005. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze the relation of living in the proximity of 220–380 kV power lines and the risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, with adjustment for a range of potential confounders. Overall, the adjusted hazard ratio for Alzheimer's disease in persons living within 50 m of a 220–380 kV power line was 1.24 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 1.92) compared with persons who lived at a distance of 600 m or more. There was a dose-response relation with respect to years of residence in the immediate vicinity of power lines and Alzheimer's disease: Persons living at least 5 years within 50 m had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.51 (95% CI: 0.91, 2.51), increasing to 1.78 (95% CI: 1.07, 2.96) with at least 10 years and to 2.00 (95% CI: 1.21, 3.33) with at least 15 years. The pattern was similar for senile dementia. There was little evidence for an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis.
BrooklynDodger(s) comment: The Dodger(s) confess to not having read the full text. The Dodger(s) has (have) not been excited about EMF and RF exposures, although the subject continues to be studied, with associations reported. Mashups of geographic and health data permit a proliferation of hypothesis raising studies.

There's power in the metaphor of electrical activity and brain waves. The main electrical activity is neurons. It's worth remembering that the main locus of these adverse effects, and CNS cancers, is from the glial cells, which are not particularly electrical. Some of the neuronal damage also arises from damage to glial cells and other supportive tissue.

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