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Impact Research Magazine

Faculty news

Health risks probed for police, firefighters John “Mac” Crawford, assistant professor in SPH’s Division of Environmental Health Sciences, is leading a study titled “The Health of Ohio Police Officers and Firefighters” on the occupational health risks of members of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (OP&F). Police officers and firefighters face a multitude of health risks from responses to emergencies, such as high-speed pursuits, and subtle, invisible environmental exposures, such as combustion byproducts and microwave radiation. OP&F would like to know more about the risks their members face from their work environments. They will use the information to make more equitable decisions about granting disability due to occupational exposures. In order to better understand the occupational health risks to OP&F members, Crawford will use the occupation and industry data fields of the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System. He will undertake a general mortality study of the police officers and firefighters by linking with publicuse death certificate data available through the Ohio

Department of Health, which has occupational data fields for 10 years of death certificates. In firefighters, Crawford may see excess occurrence of death and disease due to certain cancers, such as colon, bladder, and kidney, and death from cardiovascular disease. Among police officers he may see excess deaths from testicular and prostate cancer, as well as from cardiovascular disease. “I hope to have an understanding of how the occupations of firefighting and law enforcement are associated with the incidence of various cancers by analyzing (cancer registry) data. I also hope to have an understanding of how these occupations influence occurrence of death,” said Crawford. – by Alicia Ritchey, SPH Communications Intern

Hay fever may keep brain cancer at bay Judith Schwartzbaum, associate professor in SPH’s Division of Epidemiology, has completed research showing that asthma, hay fever or another allergic condition may reduce the risk of developing one fatal form of brain cancer. Her study is the first to include a genetic component in addition to participant selfreports of asthma and allergy. The findings appeared in the journal Cancer Research. New evidence for this relationship between allergies and cancer is found in the normal variation of two genes. “Variations in certain genes may make a person more prone to develop asthma or allergies and those same variations may protect adults against the most common kind of brain cancer,” said Schwartzbaum. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) affects three out of 100,000 people, a rate that quadruples to 13 out 100,000 among people who are 65 and older. The average five-year survival rate from the time of diagnosis for GBM is only 3.3 percent, and is lower for people 65 and older. The current study supports several years’ worth of research by other scientists who have suggested an inverse relationship

Impact Magazine 2006  

The research magazine of Ohio State's College of Public Health

Impact Magazine 2006  

The research magazine of Ohio State's College of Public Health

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