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Diesel exhaust exposure ups amyotrophic lateral sclerosis risk in men

21 Apr 2018

Men with high levels of exposure to diesel exhaust are at greater risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (AML), as shown in a recent study. This is not true for women.

The case–control study examined the association between occupational exposures to diesel exhaust and AML risk in 1,639 ALS patients and 151,975 controls. Cumulative DE exposures were estimated using a job exposure matrix.

Occupational exposure to diesel exhaust was reported in 85 percent in the ALS group and 83 percent in the control group. Skilled workers comprised the greatest proportion of diesel exhaust-exposed ALS patients (34 percent) and controls (35 percent).

On conditional logistic regression analyses, diesel exposure at 10-year lag periods was positively associated with ever experiencing diesel exhaust exposure among men (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.20; 95 percent CI, 1.05–1.38) but not among women.

In industries with >50 percent probability of diesel exhaust exposure, the highest quartile of exposure increased the risk of AML by about 40 percent during the 5-year (aOR, 1.40; 1.11–1.78) and 10-year lag periods (aOR, 1.41; 1.11–1.79) among men but not among women.

Given the mutagenic potential of diesel exhaust as well as the potential role of mutations and oxidative stress in ALS, the present data underline the importance of diesel exhaust exposure in ALS aetiology, researchers said.

While exposure assessment was assessed occupationally in the current study, widespread population exposures to diesel exhaust do occur from some traffic pollution, though most often at a lower level than the occupational exposures, they added.

In light of the widespread nature of diesel exhaust exposure but the rarity of ALS, an association between these two suggests that only certain people are sensitive to exposure to diesel exhaust, possibly determined by genetic profile, researchers pointed out.

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