‘Brain tumours more likely in highly-educated’

Highly-educated people are more likely to suffer from brain tumours than those who do not progress as far in their education, a study suggests.

Gliomas — the most common type of brain tumour which develops in the main supporting cells in the brain called glial cells — are more common among people who are university-educated, researchers said.

Experts examined data from 4.3m people in Sweden born between 1911 and 1961.

They tracked them between 1993 and 2010 and found that 7,100 women and 5,700 men were diagnosed with brain tumours.

Researchers then examined lifestyle factors including levels of education, amount of disposable income, and marital status.

Men with university level education, lasting more than three years, were 19% more likely to develop a glioma than men who only had up to nine years of compulsory education, according to the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Among women, the risk was 23% higher for glioma, and 16% higher for meningioma— a tumour that starts in the meninges, which are the tissues that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Both men and women in professional and managerial roles were more likely to suffer brain tumours compared with those in manual roles.

And men with the highest levels of disposable income were 14% more likely to get a brain tumour than those with the lowest levels.

Single men had a lower risk of glioma than married or co-habiting men, but they had a higher risk of meningioma. These associations were not found among women.

“This study found consistent associations between indicators of higher socio-economic position and increased risk of glioma in both sexes,” the authors wrote.


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