Guess what else “causes” brain cancer? Education. (not really)

No, of course not. But here you go anyway. “Socioeconomic position and the risk of brain tumour: a Swedish national population-based cohort study“:

Background: The aim was to investigate associations between different measures of socioeconomic position (SEP) and incidence of brain tumours (glioma, meningioma and acoustic neuroma) in a nationwide population-based cohort.

Methods: We included 4 305 265 individuals born in Sweden during 1911–1961, and residing in Sweden in 1991. Cohort members were followed from 1993 to 2010 for a first primary diagnosis of brain tumour identified from the National Cancer Register. Poisson regression was used to compute incidence rate ratios (IRR) by highest education achieved, family income, occupational group and marital status, with adjustment for age, healthcare region of residence, and time period.

Researchers wanted to look at the various factors that could be associated with brain tumors. They had a lot of data on a lot of people in Sweden for a lot of time. They identified 5735 brain tumors in men and 7101 in women over the study period.

They found that men with at least three years of university education had a rate of glioma more than 20% higher than those with a primary education. They also found that high income was associated with a 14% increase in the rate of glioma in men.

Women with more education had a higher rate of glioma (IRR 1.23) and meningioma (IRR 1.16).

Married men and cohabitating men also had a higher risk of glioma compared to men living by themselves.

Now, if you read the article, the authors very much believe the findings. I’m going to to be consistent, though. I think these are about as compelling as those (with similar methods) that find that cell phones are associated with increased risks of brain cancer, specifically glioma.

I will be curious to see if those who stridently defend the cell phone-cancer link will feel the same way about education, income, and living with a spouse. We’ll see.


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