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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2013 Dec;19(12):1164-6. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2013.08.014. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Parkinson's disease and history of outdoor occupation.

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United States Army, Madigan Army Medical Center, Department of Preventive Medicine, United States.



Human and animal studies, albeit not fully consistent, suggest that vitamin D may reduce risk of Parkinson's disease (PD). Ultraviolet radiation converts vitamin D precursor to the active form. This study examined the hypothesis that working outdoors is associated with a decreased risk of PD.


PD cases were enrolled from Group Health Cooperative, a health maintenance organization in the Puget Sound region in western Washington State, and the University of Washington Neurology Clinic in Seattle. Participants included 447 non-Hispanic Caucasian newly diagnosed PD cases diagnosed between 1992 and 2008 and 578 unrelated neurologically normal controls enrolled in Group Health Cooperative, frequency matched by race/ethnicity, age and gender. Subjects' amount of outdoor work was estimated from self-reported occupational histories. Jobs were categorized by degree of time spent working outdoors. A ten-year lag interval was included to account for disease latency. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by logistic regression, with adjustment for age, gender, and smoking.


Outdoor work was inversely associated with risk of PD (outdoor only compared to indoor only): OR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.44-1.25. However, there was no trend in relation to portion of the workday spent laboring outdoors and PD risk.


Occupational sunlight exposure and other correlates of outdoor work is not likely to have a substantial role in the etiology of PD.


Occupation; Parkinson's disease; Ultraviolet radiation; Vitamin D

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