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Soz Praventivmed. 2006;51(4):210-20.

Magnetic field exposure and neurodegenerative diseases--recent epidemiological studies.

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Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland.



To analyse the results of recent studies not yet included in a 2003 report of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) on occupational exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields as potential risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases.


A literature search was conducted in the online databases of PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge, DIMDI and COCHRANE, as well as in specialised databases and journals. Eight studies published between January 2000 and July 2005 were included in the review.


The findings of these studies contribute to the evidence of an association between occupational magnetic field exposure and the risk of dementia. Regarding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the recent results confirm earlier observations of an association with electric and electronic work and welding. Its relationship with magnetic field exposure remains unsolved. There are only few findings pointing towards an association between magnetic field exposure and Parkinson's disease.


The epidemiological evidence for an association between occupational exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and the risk of dementia has increased during the last five years. The impact of potential confounders should be evaluated in further studies.

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