Magnetic fields exposure from high-voltage power lines and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in two Italian populations

Marco Vinceti, Carlotta Malagoli, Sara Fabbi, Leeka Kheifets, Federica Violi, Maurizio Poli, Salvatore Caldara, Daniela Sesti, Silvia Violanti, Paolo Zanichelli, Barbara Notari, Roberto Fava, Alessia Arena, Roberta Calzolari, Tommaso Filippini, Laura Iacuzio, Elisa Arcolin, Jessica Mandrioli, Nicola Fini, Anna OdoneCarlo Signorelli, Francesco Patti, Mario Zappia, Vladimiro Pietrini, Paola Oleari, Sergio Teggi, Grazia Ghermandi, Angela Dimartino, Caterina Ledda, Cristina Mauceri, Salvatore Sciacca, Maria Fiore, Margherita Ferrante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aetiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare and extremely severe neurodegenerative disease, has been associated with magnetic fields exposure. However, evidence for such a relation in the general population is weak, although the previous null results might also be due to exposure misclassification, or a relationship might exist only for selected subgroups. To test such a hypothesis we carried out a population-based case-control study in two Northern and Southern Italy regions, including 703 ALS cases newly diagnosed from 1998 to 2011 and 2737 controls randomly selected from the residents in the study provinces. Overall, we found that a residence near high-voltage power lines, within the corridors yielding a magnetic fields of ≥0.1 μT, was not associated with an excess disease risk, nor did we identify a dose-response relationship after splitting the exposed corridor according to the 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 μT cut-points of exposure. These results were confirmed taking into account age at onset, period of diagnosis, sex, geographical area, and length of exposure. Overall, despite the residual possibility of unmeasured confounding or small susceptible subgroups not identified in our study, these results appear to confirm that the exposure to magnetic fields from power lines occurring in the general population is not associated with increased ALS risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 31 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • case-control study
  • electromagnetic fields
  • epidemiology
  • power lines
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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