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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and electric shocks: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Hamed Jalilian ORCID logo, Kamran Najafi, Yahya Khosravi and Martin Röösli

Abstract

Exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and electric shocks occurs in many workplaces and occupations but it is unclear whether any of these exposures cause Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to explore whether occupational exposure to ELF-MF and/or electric shocks are risk factor for ALS. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases up to the end of 2019. Pooled risk estimates were calculated using random-effects meta-analysis including exploration of the sources of heterogeneity between studies and publication bias. Twenty-seven publications fulfilled the inclusion criteria. We found a weak, significant, association between occupational exposure to ELF-MF and the risk of ALS (RRPooled estimate: 1.20; 95%CI: 1.05, 1.38) with moderate to high heterogeneity (I2=66.3%) and indication of publication bias (PEgger’s test=0.03). No association was observed between occupational exposure to electric shocks and risk of ALS (RRPooled estimate: 0.97; 95%CI: 0.80, 1.17) with high heterogeneity (I2=80.5%), and little indication for publication bias (PEgger’s test=0.24). The findings indicate that occupational exposure to ELF-MF, but not electric shocks, might be a risk factor for ALS. However, given the moderate to high heterogeneity and potential publication bias, the results should be interpreted with caution.


Corresponding author: Yahya Khosravi, Department of Occupational Health and Safety Engineering, School of Health, Research Center for Health, Safety and Environment, Non-communicable Diseases Research Center, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran. Phone: +98 26 34643922, Fax: +98 26 34643922, E-mail:

Funding source: Alborz University of Medical Sciences

Award Identifier / Grant number: 1396-02-22-1532

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to thank Research Consultation Center (RCC) at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences for their invaluable assistance in editing this manuscript.

  1. Research funding: This work was supported by Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran (grant number 1396-02-22-1532).

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.

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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/REVEH-2020-0041).

Received: 2020-03-27
Accepted: 2020-07-22
Published Online: 2020-09-18
Published in Print: 2021-03-26

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