Within the framework of the BBEMG project, the Research Unit in Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics studies the impact of electromagnetic fields on health using meta-analyses. Several studies have investigated the relationship between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia (Kabuto et al., 2006; Linet et al., 1997; Michaelis et al., 1997). Nevertheless, there are important discrepancies in this research field. Some studies found that childhood leukemia could be associated with extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) but others studies found no relation between these variables. Therefore, it is important to conduct meta-analyses to determine whether exposure to electromagnetic fields can really increase the risk of childhood leukemia.
A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of several studies. This analysis provides a synthesis of the different results obtained about a specific question. Meta-analyses are considered to be the most reliable form of evidence and scientific proof (Borenstein et al. 2009). Unfortunately, procedures and statistics used in meta-analyses are often inaccurate and biased, which invalidates their conclusions (Ioannidis et al. 2015; Ioannidis 2016). Therefore, it is essential to conduct meta-analyses using the right step-by-step procedures and based on systematic reviews of the literature that take into account the PRISMA STATEMENT and PRISMA checklist (Beaudart et al., 2016; Rabenda et al., 2017; see PRISMA website in the References). In our unit, we are conducting a systematic review and a meta-analysis to clarify the relationship between ELF-EMF and childhood leukemia.
The publication describing the results of this meta-analysis can be found here.