The Residential Case-Specular Method to Study Wire Codes, Magnetic Fields, and Disease


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Abstract

We propose a residential case-specular method for the study of wire codes and childhood cancer. The method compares the wire codes of case residences with the wire codes of identical residences (specular residences) located in a virtual situation in which the position of the residence or the position of the power line is switched around the center of the street. It is designed to discriminate between the magnetic field hypothesis, which postulates that childhood cancer is affected by magnetic fields and that wire codes are a proxy for magnetic fields, vs the neighborhood hypothesis, which postulates that childhood cancer is affected by some characteristics of the neighborhood other than magnetic fields and wire codes are a proxy for those characteristics. The method is based on several assumptions that we tested with 400 randomly selected residences. Under certain conditions, the method also may allow effect estimation without requiring the selection of controls and the potential biases that result from control selection. The method is applicable to both past and future studies.

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