Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Occupational Risk Factors: Analysis of the University of Michigan ALS Patient Repository Database

Postdoctoral Research Trainee: Feng-Chiao Su, PhD, University of Michigan

Faculty Sponsor: Stuart Batterman, PhD, MS, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan

For analyte separation and quantification we use a Hewlett-Packard HP 5973 gas chromatograph/ mass spectrometry.  The detector is a mass-selective detector operated in the negative chemical ionization, selected-ion monitoring mode.  Chromatogram analyzed by chemists from SPH, represents the pesticide fraction of persistent organic contaminants.

For analyte separation and quantification we use a Hewlett-Packard HP 5973 gas chromatograph/ mass spectrometry. The detector is a mass-selective detector operated in the negative chemical ionization, selected-ion monitoring mode. Chromatogram analyzed by chemists from SPH, represents the pesticide fraction of persistent organic contaminants.

The cause of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is still unknown; however, it has been related to occupational, environmental, and personal factors. Occupational exposure data drawn from a questionnaire and blood samples collected from participants were compared with a nationally representative sample. The results showed that the occupational distributions were different between this study (statewide data) and the national data.

This study also tested whether the data collected from questionnaires can reflect chemical concentrations in blood. The results suggested that subjects’ occupation and workplace would affect chemical concentrations in their blood. Some personal activities, e.g., washing work clothes at home or washing hands with solvents, would also affect the chemical concentrations in blood. Due to the small sample size of blood samples and some other issues, however, the concordance between occupational information drawn from questionnaires and blood samples was not very good. Residential factors can explain part of the inconsistency. Thus, we will consider both occupational and residential factors when we estimate the concordance between questionnaire data and chemical concentrations in blood for further analyses.

Project Abstract

Publications resulting from this project:
Yu Y, Su FC, Callaghan BC, Goutman SA, Batterman SA, Feldman EL. Environmental Risk Factors and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): A Case-Control Study of ALS in Michigan. PLOS ONE. 2014;9(6):e101186. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101186. PMCID: PMC407630

Su F, Goutman SA, Chernyak S, Mukherjee B, Callaghan BC, Batterman S, Feldman EL. Association of environmental toxins with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. JAMA Neurology. 2016;73(7):803-811. DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.0594.

F-C. Su, S.A. Goutman, S. Chernyak, R. Das, B. Mukherjee, B.C. Callaghan, S. Batterman, E.L. Feldman, “Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” JAMA Neurology. 73, 7, 803-11. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.0594.