Background: The evidence for associations between occupational factors and the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) is inconsistent. We assessed the risk of PD associated with various occupational factors in Japan.
Methods: We examined 249 cases within 6 years of onset of PD. Control subjects were 369 inpatients and outpatients without neurodegenerative disease. Information on occupational factors was obtained from a self-administered questionnaire. Relative risks of PD were estimated using odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) based on logistic regression. Adjustments were made for gender, age, region of residence, educational level, and pack-years of smoking.
Results: Working in a professional or technical occupation tended to be inversely related to the risk of PD: adjusted OR was 0.59 (95% CI: 0.32-1.06, P = 0.08). According to a stratified analysis by gender, the decreased risk of PD for persons in professional or technical occupations was statistically significant only for men. Adjusted ORs for a professional or technical occupation among men and women were 0.22 (95% CI: 0.06-0.67) and 0.99 (0.47-2.07), respectively, and significant interaction was observed (P = 0.048 for homogeneity of OR). In contrast, risk estimates for protective service occupations and transport or communications were increased, although the results were not statistically significant: adjusted ORs were 2.73 (95% CI: 0.56-14.86) and 1.74 (95% CI: 0.65-4.74), respectively. No statistical significance was seen in data concerning exposure to occupational agents and the risk of PD, although roughly a 2-fold increase in OR was observed for workers exposed to stone or sand.
Conclusion: The results of our study suggest that occupational factors do not play a substantial etiologic role in this population. However, among men, professional or technical occupations may decrease the risk of PD.