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EMR Literature Survey - March 2017

FEATURE ARTICLE:  
Investigation of bias related to differences between case and control interview dates in five INTERPHONE countries

By: Turner MC, Sadetzki S, Langer CE, Villegas PhD R, Figuerola J, Armstrong BK, Chetrit A, Giles GG, Krewski D, Hours M, McBride ML, Parent ME, Richardson L, Siemiatycki J, Woodward A, Cardis E
Published in: Ann Epidemiol 2016; 26 (12): 827-832.e2

SUMMARY

This paper reported the results of further analysis of the INTERPHONE study, which is an international collaborative case-control study investigating mobile phone use and tumours of the head and neck. The analysis was done on a subset of five countries out of the thirteen countries involved in the original study. The analysis found that the elimination of a possible bias may result in a stronger positive association between long-term mobile phone use (more than 10 years) and glioma, although it is not statistically significant (odds ratio, OR = 1.26; 95% confidence intervals, 95% CI = 0.90-1.78). The authors concluded that the bias due to differences in the interview dates between cases and controls have resulted in the underestimation of the risk originally reported in the INTERPHONE study.

Pubmed Link

Commentary by ARPANSA

The biggest criticism of the INTERPHONE study was its methodology, which led to many biases. The impact of selection and recall biases in a case-control study of mobile phone use has previously been investigated in separate studies by Vrijheid et al. (2009a and 2009b). This study by Turner et al. provided evidence on another possible bias.

Glioma is a highly fatal and fast-progressing disease and a rapid case ascertainment (identifying the number of cases in the period and region that is studied) was an important issue in the INTERPHONE study. This will often mean that cases are interviewed much earlier in the study comparing to controls, which results in a time lag. In the INTERPHONE Study, this resulted in an apparent increase of duration of mobile phone use as well as over-estimation of mobile phone use in controls.


FEATURE ARTICLE:  
Occupational exposure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a prospective cohort

By: Tom Koeman, Pauline Slottje, Leo J Schouten, Susan Peters, Anke Huss, Jan H Veldink, Hans Kromhout, Piet A van den Brandt, Roel Vermeulen
Published in: Occupational and Environmental Medicine

SUMMARY

This case-cohort study investigated whether occupational exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MFs) is associated with a motor neuron disease. The study was conducted as a subset of a cohort study that included more than 120,000 subjects that were enrolled in the study in 1986 and followed for 17 years for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mortality. The subset case-cohort study included 136 ALS deaths and 4166 controls drawn randomly from the cohort (called subcohort). The information on a lifetime occupational history was obtained via questionnaires and the occupational exposure to ELF MFs of each subject was assessed via a job-exposure matrix (JEM). Information on other occupational exposure was also obtained including electrical shocks, metals, and several chemical agents. The association between high exposure to ELF MFs and ALS was found to be statistically significant only in men (hazard ratio = 2.19, 95% confidence interval = 1.02 – 4.73). The authors concluded that their study supported an association between occupational ELF-MF exposure and an increased risk of ALS mortality.

Link to Article

Commentary by ARPANSA

Several studies have investigated whether occupational exposure to ELF MFs is associated with neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. Meta-analyses of previous studies have reported a possible increased risk between occupational ELF fields and ALS but the results are largely inconsistent and many of the studies have methodological weaknesses, mainly in the assessment of exposure and the possibility of confounding from other occupational exposures including electric shocks and other chemical and physical agents. The current study goes a long way into addressing some of the short comings of previous studies; it is a large prospective study of the general population, it has used the best available JEM to assess occupational ELF fields and has looked at other occupational exposures. The study has some limitations which were acknowledged by the authors including that the JEM used may not truly represent the exposure experienced by the subjects. The conclusion by the authors that the study adds support for an association between occupational ELF magnetic fields and ALS mortality is valid however as acknowledged by the authors this is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn on whether occupational ELF fields do cause ALS. Further research in this area is needed particularly in the assessment of exposure.


Analysis of mobile phone use among young patients with brain tumors in Japan

By: Sato Y et al.
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2017

SUMMARY

This is a cross-sectional study investigating the prevalence of mobile phone ownership among children with brain tumours. A total of 82 children were included in the study. Information on mobile phone ownership and use was obtained via questionnaire. The study revealed that the prevalence of mobile phone ownership among those who had been diagnosed with childhood brain tumours between 2006 and 2010 in Japan was not higher than that of the country’s wider population of corresponding age.

Pubmed Link


Effect of adverse environmental conditions and protective clothing on temperature rise in a human body exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

By: Moore SM et al.
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2017

SUMMARY

This simulation study investigated the thermal effects of radiofrequency (RF) exposure on workers’ bodies while wearing RF protective clothing. The body’s thermal response at various scenarios of environmental conditions (including high ambient temperature of up to 42.5°C and humidity of up to 80%) were investigated via a computer model. The study did not find any scenario that greatly influenced the localised temperatures in the skin, eyes, testes, marrow, brain, and core body. The study also confirmed that the worker exposure limits in the international RF Guidelines provide adequate protection even for the most adverse environmental conditions.

Pubmed Link


Effect of 1.8 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on novel object associative recognition memory in mice

By: Wang K et al.
Published in: Sci Rep 2017; 7: 44521

SUMMARY

This animal study investigated whether RF radiation affects memory. A total of 22 mice were divided into two groups: sham-exposed and exposed to RF at a frequency of 1.8 gigahertz (GHz), for 30 minutes/day, for 3 days. The exposure was conducted at a specific absorption rate (SAR) ranging from 2.2 to 3.3 watts per kilogram (W/kg), which is 10% - 65% above the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard. The study found that the exposed group had a significant increase in recognition memory compared to the sham-exposed group.

Pubmed Link


Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from cell phone causes defective testicular function in male Wistar rats

By: Oyewopo AO et al.
Published in: Andrologia 2017

SUMMARY

This is an animal study which investigated the effects of mobile phone use on testicular function. A total of 20 male rats were divided into five groups consisting of control, sham-exposed, and three groups exposed to RF from a GSM mobile phone for 1 or 2 or 3 hours/day for 28 days (exposure information was not provided in the study). The authors suggested that the RF exposure from mobile phone negatively affected testicular function.

Pubmed Link

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