A meta-analysis, involving the secondary analysis of original data from 11 case-control studies of Alzheimer's disease, is presented for occupational exposures to solvents and lead. Three studies had data on occupational exposure to solvents. Among cases, 21.3% were reported to have been exposed; among controls, this figure was comparable (20.9%). This yielded a pooled matched relative risk of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.47-1.23). Four studies had data on exposure to lead. Exposure frequencies were 6.1% in cases and 8.3% in controls. This resulted in a pooled matched relative risk of 0.71 (95% CI: 0.36-1.41). The meta-analysis was particularly useful in validating negative results from individual studies and in increasing the statistical power for the analysis of lead exposure, where stratum-specific cell sizes were frequently smaller than five in individual studies. However, since exposure in the various studies was ascertained in a rather broad manner, prospective studies are recommended which focus on high-risk occupational populations and which determine the incidence of Alzheimer's disease in these and comparable unexposed populations.

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International Journal of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Graves, A. B., van Duijn, C., Chandra, V., Fratiglioni, L., Heyman, A., Jorm, A. F., … Hofman, A. (1991). Occupational exposures to solvents and lead as risk factors for Alzheimer's disease: A collaborative re-analysis of case-control studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 20, 58–61. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/5795