Programmers and ALS

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ptich

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I found this article summary, from 2005:

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/162/12/1146

There is no definition what "rate ratio" means, so I may be wrong, but this article seems to imply that male programmers are 4.55 times more likely to have ALS than the general population. There was a lot of talk of vets having higher chances of ALS, and their chances were like 30-50% higher; seems that the programmers are in much worse situation... The study had covered 507 male ALS cases, which apparently makes its findings quite significant statistically.

Not that I would recommend my kids to become programmers anyway, but now programming looks like a very dangerous occupation (in addition to being quite unprofitable to begin with :) )
 

joelc

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That is quite interesting! I built and modified custom software for years. It was a very stressful time - we have always said that stess is the worst thing for ALS, and programming is very stressful. I can almost believe this to be true.
 

ptich

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I am not sure that it is just stress that makes programming so ALS-prone. There are many occupations that are way more stressfull than programming, and in my case, I did not feel that my work was stressful at all.
 

joelc

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You must have worked for somebody else....LOL. I worked for myself and always had unreasonable deadlines.
 

ptich

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I worked both ways... But I feel it is way more complicated that just stress. May be fast finger movements during quick typing wear out motor neurons... Who knows.
 

joelc

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I can gurantee you it is more than just stess that causes ALS, but I can also tell you that once you have it stress is your enemy. I was only responding to the statistic you mentioned in your first post.
 

nightwolf_mk

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Well, I'm a programmer since I was 16. Now I have 26 and some symptoms of ALS, although I have not been diagnosed yet. All I can say is programming is stressful but I don't know if it is related with ALS.
There are many other professions with a lot of stress. But the article is interesting.
God stay with you.
 
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