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Original article
peer-reviewed

Systematic Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbines and Human Distress



Abstract

Background and Objectives: The proximity of wind turbines to residential areas has been associated with a higher level of complaints compared to the general population. The study objective was to search the literature investigating whether an association between wind turbines and human distress exists.

Methods: A systematic search of the following databases (EMBASE, PubMed, OvidMedline, PsycINFO, The Cochrane Library, SIGLE, and Scirus) and screening for duplication led to the identification of 154 studies. Abstract and full article reviews of these studies led to the identification of 18 studies that were eligible for inclusion as they examined the association of wind turbines and human distress published in peer-review journals in English between 2003-2013. Outcome measures, including First Author, Year of Publication, Journal Name, Country of Study, Study Design, Sample Size, Response Rate, Level of Evidence, Level of Potential Bias, and Outcome Measures of Study, were captured for all studies. After data extraction, each study was analyzed to identify the two primary outcomes: Quality of Study and Conclusion of Study Effect.

Results: All peer-reviewed studies captured in our review found an association between wind turbines and human distress. These studies had levels of evidence of four and five. Two studies showed a dose-response relationship between distance from wind turbines and distress, and none of them concluded no association.

Conclusions: In this review, we have demonstrated the presence of reasonable evidence (Level Four and Five) that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans. The existence of a dose-response relationship (between distance from wind turbines and distress) and the consistency of association across studies found in the scientific literature argues for the credibility of this association. Future research in this area is warranted as to whether or not a causal relationship exists.



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Original article
peer-reviewed

Systematic Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbines and Human Distress


Author Information

Ian Arra Corresponding Author

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Northern Ontario Medical School- East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

Public Health and Preventive Medicinece Centre, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

Hazel Lynn

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Ontario, Canada

Kimberley Barker

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Medical Officer of Health, Algoma Public Health

Chiebere Ogbuneke

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Post Graduate Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

Sophie Regalado

Health Sciences Librarian, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University Campus


Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. This study used previously published data making it exempt from institutional ethics board approval. issued approval This study used previously published data making it exempt from institutional ethics board approval. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

Acknowledgements

Thank you, Andrea M. Davison, for assisting with the preparation of this manuscript.


Original article
peer-reviewed

Systematic Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbines and Human Distress


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Original article
peer-reviewed

Systematic Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbines and Human Distress

  • Author Information
    Ian Arra Corresponding Author

    Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Northern Ontario Medical School- East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

    Public Health and Preventive Medicinece Centre, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

    Hazel Lynn

    Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Ontario, Canada

    Kimberley Barker

    Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Medical Officer of Health, Algoma Public Health

    Chiebere Ogbuneke

    Public Health and Preventive Medicine Post Graduate Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

    Sophie Regalado

    Health Sciences Librarian, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University Campus


    Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

    Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. This study used previously published data making it exempt from institutional ethics board approval. issued approval This study used previously published data making it exempt from institutional ethics board approval. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

    Acknowledgements

    Thank you, Andrea M. Davison, for assisting with the preparation of this manuscript.


    Article Information

    Published: May 23, 2014

    DOI

    10.7759/cureus.183

    Cite this article as:

    Arra I, Lynn H, Barker K, et al. (May 23, 2014) Systematic Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbines and Human Distress. Cureus 6(5): e183. doi:10.7759/cureus.183

    Publication history

    Received by Cureus: April 03, 2014
    Peer review began: April 06, 2014
    Peer review concluded: May 22, 2014
    Published: May 23, 2014

    Copyright

    © Copyright 2014
    Arra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    License

    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Background and Objectives: The proximity of wind turbines to residential areas has been associated with a higher level of complaints compared to the general population. The study objective was to search the literature investigating whether an association between wind turbines and human distress exists.

Methods: A systematic search of the following databases (EMBASE, PubMed, OvidMedline, PsycINFO, The Cochrane Library, SIGLE, and Scirus) and screening for duplication led to the identification of 154 studies. Abstract and full article reviews of these studies led to the identification of 18 studies that were eligible for inclusion as they examined the association of wind turbines and human distress published in peer-review journals in English between 2003-2013. Outcome measures, including First Author, Year of Publication, Journal Name, Country of Study, Study Design, Sample Size, Response Rate, Level of Evidence, Level of Potential Bias, and Outcome Measures of Study, were captured for all studies. After data extraction, each study was analyzed to identify the two primary outcomes: Quality of Study and Conclusion of Study Effect.

Results: All peer-reviewed studies captured in our review found an association between wind turbines and human distress. These studies had levels of evidence of four and five. Two studies showed a dose-response relationship between distance from wind turbines and distress, and none of them concluded no association.

Conclusions: In this review, we have demonstrated the presence of reasonable evidence (Level Four and Five) that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans. The existence of a dose-response relationship (between distance from wind turbines and distress) and the consistency of association across studies found in the scientific literature argues for the credibility of this association. Future research in this area is warranted as to whether or not a causal relationship exists.



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Ian Arra, M.D., M.Sc.

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Northern Ontario Medical School- East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

For correspondence:
ian.arra@nosm.ca

Hazel Lynn

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Ontario, Canada

Kimberley Barker

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Medical Officer of Health, Algoma Public Health

Chiebere Ogbuneke

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Post Graduate Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

Sophie Regalado

Health Sciences Librarian, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University Campus

Ian Arra, M.D., M.Sc.

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Northern Ontario Medical School- East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

For correspondence:
ian.arra@nosm.ca

Hazel Lynn

Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Ontario, Canada

Kimberley Barker

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Medical Officer of Health, Algoma Public Health

Chiebere Ogbuneke

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Post Graduate Program, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, East Campus - Laurentian University, Health Sciences Education Resource Centre

Sophie Regalado

Health Sciences Librarian, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University Campus