Parkinson's disease and history of outdoor occupation

Elena Kwon, Lisa G. Gallagher, Susan Searles Nielsen, Gary M. Franklin, Christopher T. Littell, W. T. Longstreth, Phillip D. Swanson, Harvey Checkoway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Human and animal studies, albeit not fully consistent, suggest that vitamin D may reduce risk of Parkinson's disease (PD). Ultraviolet radiation converts vitamin D precursor to the active form. This study examined the hypothesis that working outdoors is associated with a decreased risk of PD. Methods: PD cases were enrolled from Group Health Cooperative, a health maintenance organization in the Puget Sound region in western Washington State, and the University of Washington Neurology Clinic in Seattle. Participants included 447 non-Hispanic Caucasian newly diagnosed PD cases diagnosed between 1992 and 2008 and 578 unrelated neurologically normal controls enrolled in Group Health Cooperative, frequency matched by race/ethnicity, age and gender. Subjects' amount of outdoor work was estimated from self-reported occupational histories. Jobs were categorized by degree of time spent working outdoors. A ten-year lag interval was included to account for disease latency. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by logistic regression, with adjustment for age, gender, and smoking. Results: Outdoor work was inversely associated with risk of PD (outdoor only compared to indoor only): OR=0.74, 95% CI 0.44-1.25. However, there was no trend in relation to portion of the workday spent laboring outdoors and PD risk. Conclusion: Occupational sunlight exposure and other correlates of outdoor work is not likely to have a substantial role in the etiology of PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1166
Number of pages3
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Occupation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Vitamin D


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