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Environmental, Occupational, and Personal Lifestyle Risk Factors for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Case-Control Study

Malek, Angela/AMM (2012) Environmental, Occupational, and Personal Lifestyle Risk Factors for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Case-Control Study. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease is the most common motor neuron disease (MND) in adults. Male sex and age are the only known risk factors for ALS; however, an environmental etiology for ALS has been supported by epidemiologic studies and is suggested by the gender discrepancy. The objectives of this dissertation are to: 1) explore the relationship between pesticide exposure and risk of ALS through meta-analysis; 2) validate an ALS questionnaire to measure important risk factors in an ALS specific population; 3) examine the association of sociodemographic characteristics, personal risk factors, and occupational and environmental exposures and ALS; and to 4) evaluate the association of hazardous air toxics and risk of ALS by linkage to an existing database. Through this dissertation, a case-control study was conducted of 66 ALS cases and 66 matched controls from 2008-2011 to investigate risk factors for ALS. Existing data from the Environmental Protection Agency National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment was also analyzed in relation to residence of cases and controls.

The results showed exposure to pesticides, solvents, and metals may increase the risk of ALS. In conclusion, several environmental and occupational exposures are suggested to play a role in the risk of ALS as well as other neurological diseases. This dissertation is of public health significance as it fills an important gap in ALS research and proposes a new direction of investigation for ALS, that of hazardous air pollutants.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Malek, Angela/
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTalbott, Evelyn/EOTeot1@pitt.eduEOT1
Committee MemberBarchoswky, Aaron/ABaab20@pitt.eduAAB20
Committee MemberBowser, Robert/
Committee MemberLacomis, David/DLlacomisd@upmc.eduLACOMISD
Committee MemberYouk, Adaayouk@pitt.eduAYOUK
Date: 30 January 2012
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 25 August 2011
Approval Date: 30 January 2012
Submission Date: 10 November 2011
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 165
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epidemiology, pesticides, air pollutants
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2012 19:08
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:38


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