Parkinson’s, ALS Risk Increased in White-Collar Workers

HealthDay News — White collar workers have a higher risk of death from Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The researchers looked at data from more than 12 million adult death certificates from 1985 to 1999, 2003 to 2004, and 2007 to 2011 in 30 states. Job classifications were grouped into 26 categories based on similar job duties and ordered from high-paying management occupations to lower-paying transportation and material-moving work.

The analysis included 26,917 ALS deaths, 115,262 Parkinson’s deaths, and 158,618 deaths from heart failure. The researchers found that workers in occupations associated with higher education and income had an increased risk of dying from these diseases.

“Although the reasons for the findings of this study are not understood, it provides information for future targeted studies among workers in higher socioeconomic status occupations to identify risk factors for ALS and Parkinson’s disease,” the authors write.

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Beard JD, Steege AL, Ju J, Lu J, Luckhaupt SE, Schubauer-Berigan MK. Mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and parkinson’s disease among different occupation groups — United States, 1985–2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:718–722.