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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Teaching Makes You Sick?...

And you just thought all you had to worry about was kid boogers...
Full story here

by Amy Norton Thu Aug 18,
1:31 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A wide range of occupations, from farming to teaching, may be potential risk factors for degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, research findings suggest.

In a study of more than 2.6 million U.S. death records, researchers found that a variety of jobs were associated with an increased risk of death from several forms of brain degeneration, namely Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, early-onset dementia and motor neuron disease

Many of the associations had been seen in earlier research and could potentially be explained by on-the-job exposures to the chemicals that farmers, welders and hairdressers routinely use or inhale.

Other findings, however, such as the elevated disease risks among teachers, clergy and bank tellers, are not easily explained, according to the researchers, led by Robert M. Park of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Studies such as this, where death certificates are used to find associations between occupation and disease risk, have their limits. For one, death records are a less-than-ideal measure of a person's work history, Park told Reuters Health.

"At best," he noted, such research can tease out general patterns that can then be studied further.

In their analysis, Park and his colleagues found that the bank tellers, clergy, aircraft mechanics and hairdressers had highest odds of dying from Alzheimer's disease. For Parkinson's disease, the highest risks were among biological scientists, teachers, clergy members and other religious workers.

SOURCE: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, July 2005.

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