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Mortality From Neurodegenerative Diseases in a Cohort of US Flight Attendants
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    Concern exists about the potential chronic neurological effects among aircrew of exposure to chemical contaminants from engine oil in aircraft cabin air. We evaluated mortality from neurodegenerative diseases among 11,311 former US flight attendants.


    Vital status was ascertained through 2007, and life table analyses were conducted to obtain standardized mortality ratios (SMRs).


    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mortality was over twice as high in the cohort as in the US general population, based on nine observed ALS deaths. There was no clear pattern in risk when SMRs for ALS were stratified by exposure duration. Mortality from other neurodegenerative diseases was not elevated.


    Our findings are limited due to small numbers of observed deaths and reliance on mortality data, but suggest that flight attendants may have an increased risk of ALS. Additional research is needed.

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  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
    Z01 ES049005-16/Intramural NIH HHS/United States
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