Patronizing Hair and Nail Salons Linked To Increased Risk of Skin and Fungal Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lindsey Milich Rutgers School of Public Health studiesLindsey Milich

Rutgers School of Public Health studies
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Much of the spotlight has been focused on hair and nail technicians, with the focus now shifting towards the health and safety of hair and nail salon clients. We wanted to assess perceived safety and health risks and prevalence of respiratory and dermal symptoms among hair and nail salon clients in New Jersey.

Main findings include dermal/fungal symptoms being more prevalent among clients who visited salons three or more times within the past year, compared with those with fewer reported visits. Respiratory symptom prevalence was higher among clients with fewer salon visits, indicating a “healthy client effect”; clients with these symptoms may be less likely to return.

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Night Shift Work Linked To Increased Risk of Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sun Miaomiao

Prof. Shelly Tse
JC School of Public Health and Primary Care
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Sha Tin, Hong Kong

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Approximately 20% of the overall workforce is involving in a shift work schedule, which is equivalent to nearly 0.7 billion workers. It has been several studies and systematic reviews reported that shift work could contribute a risk to abdominal obesity, that was identified to be associated with increased mortality. However, the previous related studies derived from different industries and companies that held with various occupational settings of night shift work, and the results have been inconsistent or lack of statistical power. We believed that a better understanding of the knowledge gaps on the associations between specific obesity types and different shift work settings has important implications for occupational health practice. Our meta-analysis provided a clearer picture for the association between night shift work and overweight/ obesity with a potential gradient association, especially for the abdominal obesity.

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Pneumococcal Vaccine Rates Still Too Low Among Adults With Work-Related Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katelynn Dodd MPH Respiratory Health Division National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morgantown WV 26505

Katelynn Dodd

Katelynn Dodd MPH
Respiratory Health Division
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Morgantown WV 26505

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Adults with asthma are at increased risk for pneumococcal infection. Adults with asthma who get pneumococcal pneumonia are at risk for additional complications including asthma exacerbation and invasive pneumococcal disease. Our results indicated that adults with work-related asthma were more likely to have received a pneumococcal vaccine than adults with non-work-related asthma—54 percent compared to 35 percent respectively; however, pneumococcal vaccination coverage among all adults with asthma, work-related or not, who have ever been employed in this study falls short of achieving the coverage public health experts recommend. Among adults with work-related asthma, pneumococcal vaccine coverage was lowest among Hispanics (36 percent), those without health insurance (39 percent), and adults aged 18 to 44 years (42 percent).

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Any Job is Not Necessarily Better Than NO Job

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Tarani Chandola Cathie Marsh Institute and Social Statistics www.cmist.manchester.ac.uk University of Manchester Co-director of the National Centre for Research Methods International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society & Health 

Prof. Chandola

Professor Tarani Chandola
Cathie Marsh Institute and Social Statistics
www.cmist.manchester.ac.uk
University of Manchester
Co-director of the National Centre for Research Methods International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society & Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The study examined the common perception that “any job is better than no job” to see whether this was true in terms of chronic stress levels. It followed up a group of unemployed adults representative of adults living in the UK, and compared their health and stress levels in terms of those who remained unemployed and those who became re-employed in poor and good quality work.

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MRI Biomarkers Track Cognitive Impairment Due to Head Trauma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Virendra Mishra, Ph.D. Department of Imaging Research Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas

Dr. Virendra Mishra

Virendra Mishra, Ph.D.
Department of Imaging Research
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Repetitive head trauma has been shown to be a risk factor for various neurodegenerative disorders, mood swings, depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. There has been a significant amount of research into identifying an imaging biomarker of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) due to repetitive head trauma. Unfortunately, most of the biomarkers have not been able to find a successful translation to clinics. Additionally, the quest for the mTBI imaging biomarker especially using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques has been done by looking at either the gray matter (T1-weighted) or the white matter (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) independently; and both have shown changes that are associated with repetitive head trauma.

Hence in this study, we wanted to investigate if combining gray matter and white matter information enables us to better predict the fighters who are more vulnerable to cognitive decline due to repetitive head trauma. Our method found seven imaging biomarkers that when combined together in a multivariate sense were able to predict with greater than 73% accuracy those fighters who are vulnerable to cognitive decline both at baseline and follow-up. The imaging biomarkers were indeed a combination of gray and white matter measures of regions reported previously in the literature. A key point in our study was we found the regions predicting cognitive decline without enforcing any assumptions on the regions previously reported.

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Decreased DNA Repair Links Shift Work and Increased Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Parveen Bhatti, PhD
Associate Member
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Evidence in humans for an association between shift work and cancer has been mixed. This may be due to difficulties in accurately assessing long-term exposures to shift work in studies of cancer risk. We took a different approach that circumvented these difficulties. Rather than look at cancer risk directly, we measured, among actively employed shift workers, a marker of DNA damage that has been linked to cancer.

When repaired by cellular machinery, this particular marker is excreted in urine where it can be measured. We found that, compared to sleeping at night during their night off, shift workers had lower urinary levels of the DNA damage marker during their night work. This effect appears to be driven by reductions in circulating melatonin levels among shift workers during night work relative to night sleep. Given that melatonin has been shown to enhance repair of DNA damage, our results suggest that, during night work, shift workers have reduced ability to repair DNA damage resulting in lower levels being excreted in their urine. Because of this, shift workers likely have higher levels of DNA damage remaining in their cells, which can lead to mutations and cause cancer.

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Health-Related Quality of Life Varies Among US Workers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Taylor M. Shockey MPH

CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our study examined health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among 22 major occupation groups using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. The BRFSS is an annual telephone survey that collects data from U.S. residents on their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

HRQOL is an individual’s self-perception of their physical and mental health over time and it provides a valuable measure of well-being. HRQOL is used by a variety of different fields, outside of public health, including psychology, social work, economics, and urban planning. HRQOL is a measure capable of linking these different fields and is used to determine disease burden, to monitor progress in achieving the Healthy People goals, to guide policy and legislation, to develop interventions, and to allocate resources where they are most needed. The Healthy People goals are 10-year targets for improving the health of Americans through health promotion activities and disease prevention efforts.

In relation to occupation, prior research that has evaluated HRQOL has typically focused on employment status, but not on specific job type. It’s been established, however, that job characteristics such as high demand, low control, role stress, bullying, work hours, etc., are associated with greater risk for common mental health problems as well as physical outcomes like headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems.

Our study wanted to determine if differences in HRQOL would exist among occupation groups.

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Most Health Care Personnel Not Getting Tdap Vaccination

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anup Srivastav, DVM, MPVM, PhD

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta GA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Healthcare personnel (HCP) are at risk for being exposed to pertussis (whooping cough) and spreading the disease to patients in their work settings. CDC recommends tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination for healthcare personnel to reduce their risk of getting the disease and spreading it to patients. This is the first report of Tdap vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel by occupational setting.

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Retirement Lowers Stress But Only For Those Retiring From Executive Jobs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tarani Chandola</strong> Professor of Medical Sociology Social Statistics Disciplinary Area of the School of Social Sciences University of Manchester

Prof. Chandola

Tarani Chandola
Professor of Medical Sociology
Social Statistics Disciplinary Area of the School of Social Sciences
University of Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We (the authors) were particularly interested in examining evidence for the common perception that people at the top of the occupational hierarchy are the most stressed. And also what happens to people’s stress levels when they retire. We had assumed that people with poorer quality work to have decreased levels of stress when they retired. There have been other studies on this topic before, but none that have used salivary cortisol to measure physiological stress responses. We analysed changes in people’s stress levels before and after retirement, in a follow up study of over 1,000 older workers in the British civil service. Stress levels were measured by taking salivary cortisol samples across the day, from awakening until bedtime.

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Rotational Shift Work Linked To Increased Risk of Hypertension, Especially in Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sandhya Manohar, MBBS, Nephrology Fellow Project mentor: Sandra M. Herrmann, MD Department of Nephrology and Hypertension Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Dr. Sandhya Manohar

Sandhya Manohar, MBBS, Nephrology Fellow
Project mentor: Sandra M. Herrmann, MD
Department of Nephrology and Hypertension
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In the last few decades advances in the field of industrialization and technology has turned our world into a 24-7 work zone. Many organizations have turned to a shift system to keep up with the demands of the new world. The consequent changes to our circadian rhythm have resulted in dramatic effects to our body’s physiology. Reports have been surfacing of higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and even cancer in this shift work population.

The risk of hypertension though was controversial and so we set out to review this in our meta-analysis.

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Some Retirees Begin Risky Alcohol Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jaana Halonen, Docent and Senior Researcher

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Retirement is a significant life transition when substantial changes in daily life are experienced as retirees adapt to life without work. After retirement people have more leisure time and more opportunities for different activities, and less stress. These changes are positive, but retirement can also lead to reduced social control and loss of social contacts and therefore be perceived as a stressful life transition. Both the positive and negative aspects related to changes in leisure time, stress, and social networks around retirement may affect drinking behaviours. However, little is known about how risky alcohol consumption changes around the retirement transition.

Thus, in our study we wanted to examine how and for whom risky drinking changes around the time of retirement. To do that we followed up public sector workers with questionnaires before and after their old-age retirement.

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Approval of Medical Disability Claims Vary By the Examiner

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung Universitätsspital Basel Basel Switzerland

Prof. Regina Kunz

Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz
Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin
Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung
Universitätsspital Basel
Basel Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Many workers seek wage replacement benefits due to a disabling illness or injury. Public and private insurance systems provide wage replacement benefits for such employees, as long as eligibility criteria are met. Insurers often arrange for evaluation of eligibility by medical professionals, but there are concerns regarding low quality evaluations and poor reliability between medical experts assessing the same claimant. In order to better understand this situation, we performed a systematic review of reproducibility studies on the inter-rater agreement in evaluation of disability.

We carried out a systematic review of 23 studies, conducted between 1992-2016, from 12 countries in Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia. The studies include those carried out in an insurance setting, with medical experts assessing claimants for work disability benefits, and in a research setting, where evaluation of patients took place outside of actual assessments, for example, for rehabilitation.

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Cardiac Disease Linked To Elevated Risk of Shoulder Pain and Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kurt T. Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health Chief, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health The University of Utah Health Care

Dr. Kurt Hegmann

Kurt T. Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Rocky Mtn. Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
Chief, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health
The University of Utah Health Care

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This line of work for us began approximately 20 years ago.

Normal tendons never rupture, as the weak point when loading the muscle-tendon unit is either the muscle-tendon junction (i.e., a true muscle strain) or bone-tendon junction. Researchers in the 1960s reported there is poor blood supply in the area of rotator cuff tendon tears, providing one of the two main etiological theories of rotator cuff tears. The other main theory is “impingement syndrome” or a biomechanical impingement in the shoulder joint. Naturally, both theories could co-exist.

Next, we noted rotator cuff tendinitis and shoulder risks from tobacco in other studies. We also reported prior research of increased risks with obesity. These led us to the theory that these rotator cuff tears are likely vascular in etiology. The next problem was to show this.

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Drug Positivity in U.S. Workforce Rises to Highest Level in a Decade

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Barry Sample PhD Senior director, science and technology Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions A business of Quest Diagnostics

Dr. Barry Sample

Dr. Barry Sample PhD
Senior director, science and technology
Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions
A business of Quest Diagnostics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study of drug testing of the U.S. workforce?

Response: As a leader in the drug testing industry, our primary goal at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions is to help employers maintain drug-free workplaces and combat the impacts of substance abuse such as higher absenteeism, increased risk of injury and lower productivity and performance.

One way we support these efforts is to offer analysis and information from resources like the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™, which we publish as a public service for government, media, and industry. We’ve published the Drug Testing Index since 1988, which is also the year that Congress passed the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
The Drug Testing Index examines positivity rates – the proportion of positive drug test results – among three major testing populations: federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general (private sector) U.S. workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. Thresholds for positivity are determined by cutoff levels as established by the administrating authority; these cutoff levels determine the threshold for positivity for a specific substance. Should a metabolite appear at or above the level of the cutoff, a test is determined to be positive.

Over the last few decades, testing policies have evolved to serve a dual purpose of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of both employees and the general public. That’s especially important in certain industries, such as transportation, where an impaired driver, pilot, or operator can create substantial public risk. The positivity rate in 1998, the year of the first Drug Testing Index, was 13.6 percent. Over the last 25 years, as we have tracked the overall positivity rate, we have noted other significant trends in the American workforce based on workplace drug tests. For example, our 2003 analysis revealed that amphetamine positivity had grown by 70 percent over the previous five years. The 2011 Drug Testing Index found that hydrocodone and oxycodone led U.S. general workforce positives. In both 2010 and 2011, the overall drug positivity rate was 3.5 percent, the lowest rate since we began publishing the Drug Testing Index. This year, we found positivity is at a ten-year high.

What that tells us is that trends come and go, and that we cannot rely on assumptions about drug use.

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Who Returns To Work After First Hospitalization for Heart Failure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rasmus Rørth MD From Department of Cardiology Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Dr. Rasmus Rørth

Rasmus Rørth MD
From Department of Cardiology
Rigshospitalet
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Heart failure is considered to be one of the most common, costly, disabling and deadly medical conditions and is thus a major health care problem. The ability to maintain a full-time job addresses a vital indirect consequence and cost of heart failure, beyond the usual clinical parameters such as mortality and hospitalization. Ability to work is more than just another measure of performance status. As well as its financial importance, employment is crucial for self-esteem and quality of life in patients with chronic illness. Obtaining information on labour force inclusion should, therefore, shed light on an unstudied consequence of heart failure and provide a novel perspective on the impact of heart failure on the lives of those who, perhaps, have most to lose from this condition.

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Loud Noises at Work and Home Lead To High Prevalence of Tinnitus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Harrison W. Lin, M.D. Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery UC Irvine Medical Center Orange, CA 92868

Dr. Harrison LIn

Harrison W. Lin, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
UC Irvine Medical Center
Orange, CA 92868

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We reviewed the data from the Integrated Health Interview Series, which is a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to supplement the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a household-based, personal interview survey administered by the US Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1957. The NHIS serves as the largest source of health information in the civilian population of the United States.

Analyzing the available data on tinnitus symptoms from this survey, we found that approximately 1 in 10 Americans have chronic tinnitus. Moreover, durations of occupational and leisure time noise exposures correlated with rates of tinnitus – people who reported higher rates of loud noise exposures at work and recreationally more frequently reported chronic tinnitus.

Finally, health care providers provided advice and treatment plans to patients with chronic tinnitus that were infrequently in line with the clinical practice guidelines published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Foundation.

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“Walking Meetings” Can Improve Physical Fitness In White Collar Workplaces

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD MPH, CPH Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Environment & Public Health Associate Director, Miami Occupational Research Group (MORG) Director, Musculoskeletal Disorders and Occupational Health Lab

Dr. Caban-Martinez

Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD MPH, CPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Environment & Public Health
Associate Director, Miami Occupational Research Group
Director, Musculoskeletal Disorders and Occupational Health Lab
University of Miami

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obesity remains one the largest public health burdens in the United States. Strategies that support healthy nutrition, physical activity and well-being are needed to achieve our national goals of Healthy People 2020. Opportunities for physical activity in the workplace are limited. As our U.S. economy moves from a blue-collar manufacturing enterprise to an increasingly service and information producing workforce, sedentary behavior at the worksite has unfortunately increased. Long work hours seated, short paths to printing or conference room meetings can be leading to increased overweight and obesity workforce trends documented in the U.S. population. Our University of Miami, occupational health and safety research team(www.CabanMartinezLAB.com) developed and evaluated a Walking Meeting (WaM) protocol for white-collar job site using input from thought leaders, key stakeholders, and the scientific and grey literature. We pilot tested the feasibility, acceptability and implementation of the WaM protocol in small group of white collar workers at a large university center. We found that converting just one seated meeting per week at work into a walking meeting increased the work-related physical activity levels of workers by 10 minutes. This increase in physical activity also supports the American Heart Association’s recommendations of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for adults, or about 30 minutes each weekday.

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Opioid-Restricting Laws Have Not Reduced Overdoses in Disabled Workers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Ellen Meara, PhD Professor The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

Prof. Ellen Meara

Professor Ellen Meara, PhD
Professor
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Responding to a fourfold rise in death rates, between 2006 and 2012, states collectively enacted 81 laws restricting prescribing and dispensing of prescription opioids. Jill Horwitz, PhD, JD, said “states hoped passing a range of laws might help. So they are enacting small fixes — forbidding patients from “doctor-shopping,” and requiring doctors to use tamper-resistant prescription forms. They are also implementing major efforts such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) — online databases that allow law enforcement and clinicians to monitor prescriptions.”

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Shift Work May Increase Risk of Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Earnest, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

Dr. David Earnest

David Earnest, Ph.D.
Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Earnest: When body clocks are disrupted, as they are when people engage in shift work or go to bed and get up at radically different times every few days, more severe ischemic strokes can result.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Earnest:  Whenever possible, go to bed and get up at the same time each day and keep regular mealtimes. If you do need to keep an irregular schedule, it is especially important to be mindful of stroke risk and try especially hard to eliminate other risk factors, such as hypertension and obesity.

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Mining and Construction Workers Most Affected by Occupational Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD CPH
Dr. Masterson is an epidemiologist in the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Masterson: Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common work-related illness in the United States. It is a permanent but entirely preventable condition. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared the prevalence of hearing impairment within nine industry sectors and the associated impact on quality of life for noise-exposed workers.

Hearing impairment is hearing loss that impacts day-to-day activities. The Mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment, and with moderate or worse impairment, followed by the Construction and Manufacturing sectors. Impact on quality of life was measured by calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). DALYs represented the number of healthy years lost because of hearing impairment. This study found that 2.5 healthy years were lost each year for every 1,000 noise-exposed U.S. workers because of hearing impairment. These lost years of good health were shared among the 13% of workers with hearing impairment (about 130 workers out of each 1,000 workers). Mining, Construction and Manufacturing workers lost more healthy years than workers in other industry sectors (3.5, 3.1 and 2.7 healthy years lost, respectively, each year for every 1,000 workers). Mild impairment accounted for 52% of all healthy years lost and moderate impairment accounted for 27%. 

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Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Workers Face Occupational Health Risks From Chronic Radiation Exposure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD
Director, Genetics Research Unit,
CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology
Pisa, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the last 20 years, advances in imaging technology have led to an explosive growth and performance of fluoroscopically-guided cardiovascular procedures, highly effective and often life-saving. However, these procedures requires substantial radiation exposure (e.g. the average effective radiation dose for a percutaneous coronary intervention or an ablation procedure is about 15 mSv, equal to 750 chest x-rays or ~6 years of background radiation) to patients and staff, especially interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists.

In fact, interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists needs to operate near the patient and the radiation source and accumulate significant lifetime radiation exposure over a long career. The potential hazards of cumulative radiation exposure are the risk of cataract development and cancer induction. Anyway, there is now growing evidence in scientific community of an excess risk for other non-cancer disease even at moderate and low dose levels of ionizing radiation exposure, especially cardiovascular disease and cognitive effects. However, the characterization of health risks of accumulated low-dose radiation is incomplete and largely lacking.

Therefore, the purpose of our study was to examine the prevalence of health problems among personnel staff working in interventional cardiology/cardiac electrophysiology and correlate them with the length of occupational radiation exposure.

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Acute Occupational Pesticide-Related Illness Highest in Agricultural Workers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Geoffrey M. Calvert MD

Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
CDC Cincinnati, Ohio

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Calvert: Since 1987, acute occupational pesticide-related illness and injury has been one of the conditions under surveillance by NIOSH. NIOSH supports these surveillance activities by providing cooperative agreement funding and technical support to state health departments. The SENSOR-Pesticides program is also partially funded by EPA. A total of 12 states currently participate in the SENSOR-Pesticides program.

With the 2015 publication of the Summary of Notifiable Non-Infectious Conditions and Disease Outbreaks – United States, official statistics for the occurrence of acute occupational pesticide-related illness and injury were published for the first time in the same volume of the MMWR with information on nationally notifiable infectious diseases.

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Health Factors Put Truck Drivers At Increased Crash Risk

Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH Assistant Professor Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health University of Utah School of Medicine

Dr. Matthew Thiese

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor
Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
University of Utah School of Medicine 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Thiese: The nearly 3 million truck drivers in the United States face many challenges including a lack of physical activity, limited healthy food choices, work-related stress, high physical job demands of loading and unloading trucks and a high risk of being involved in crashes. The purpose of the study was to describe truck driver health and assess relationships between both personal and occupational factors and risk of being involved in a crash.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Thiese: There were many personal and occupational factors that were significantly related to being involved in a crash. Among the personal factors assessed, drivers were more likely to be involved in a crash if they used a cell phone regularly, drank alcohol regularly, had a prior diagnosis of heart problems, reported snoring at night, had low back pain in the past year and if they had a high pulse pressure, which is the difference between the systolic and diastolic measures and is indicative of cardiovascular disease. Occupational factors related to being involved in a crash included how long subjects had been a commercial truck driver and how physically exhausted they felt after work; drivers reporting higher physical exhaustion were more likely to be involved in a crash.
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Study Evaluates Cancer Risk From Occupational Radiation Exposure

David Richardson PhD Associate Professor Epidemiology Gillings School of Global Public Health UNC

Dr. David Richardson

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:,
David Richardson PhD
Associate Professor Epidemiology
Gillings School of Global Public Health
UNC

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Richardson:  The International Nuclear Workers Study (INWORKS) combines three cohorts from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. INWORKS follows on from an earlier 15-Country Study but focuses on the three countries that provided the majority of the most informative data on early nuclear workers (1940’s onward). The use of data from just 3 countries, instead of 15, reduces the organisational requirements – and therefore financial burden – associated with the greater number of countries but the cohort selection (of the three main contributing countries) means that the power of the INWORKS study is not a concern. INWORKS uses information from the French, UK and US cohorts that has been updated since the 15-Country study was published.

The overall purpose of the study is to improve the understanding of health risks associated with protracted, low-level exposure to ionising radiation.
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Firefighters May Face Increased Risk of Cancer

Robert D. Daniels Ph.D Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Cincinnati, OhioMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert D. Daniels Ph.D
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Cincinnati, Ohio

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Daniels: In 2010, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers, with funding assistance from the U.S. Fire Administration, launched a multi-year study to examine whether fire fighters have a higher risk of cancer and other causes of death due to job exposures. Our study was designed to address limitations of previous fire fighter cancer research.

         We included a significantly larger population. With more than 30,000 career fire fighters who served in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Fire Departments between 1950 and 2010, it is the largest study of United States fire fighters ever undertaken. In addition, both non-white and female fire fighters are represented.

         We looked not only at deaths from cancer, but also at the diagnosis of certain kinds of cancer, such as testicular and prostate cancer, which have higher survival rates. We also examined other causes of death to better understand the risk for various cancers and illnesses among fire fighters compared to the general public.

         We also examined the relation between cancer and several proxies of exposure, such as the number of fire runs, time spent at fires, and duration of employment of each firefighter (Dahm et al. 2015).

The study was conducted in two parts. The first part was aimed to answer the question: “Is cancer associated with firefighting?” by comparing firefighter cancer risk to that of the general population. The second part focused on the question: “Are higher-exposed firefighters more at risk?” Findings from both parts have been published in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Daniels et al. 2014, 2015)

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Chronic Loud Noise Exposure Raises Risk of Heart Disease

Wenqi Gan, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health University of Kentucky College of Public Health Lexington, KY 40536MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Wenqi Gan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health
University of Kentucky College of Public Health
Lexington, KY 40536


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Wenqi Gan: In epidemiologic studies on health effects of noise exposure, community noise is typically assessed using noise prediction models, occupational noise is assessed using self-reports or historical records. These methods are able to estimate community noise exposure in residential areas and occupational noise exposure in the workplace; however, these methods are not able to accurately reflect actual personal noise exposure in the home and workplace. The lack of personal noise exposure information is a major limitation of previous studies, which could cause underestimations of the true health effects of noise exposure. Bilateral high-frequency hearing loss, an objective indicator for long-term exposure to loud noise, may be used to investigate health effects of noise exposure.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Wenqi Gan: This study includes 5223 people aged 20-69 years who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Compared with people with normal high-frequency hearing, people with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss were approximately two times more likely to have coronary heart disease. This association was particularly striking for people who were chronically exposed to loud noise in the workplace or leisure time. For example, for currently employed workers with occupational noise exposure history, the possibility of having coronary heart disease increased more than four times. This study confirms that chronic exposure to loud noise is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

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Denim Sandblasters At High Risk of Pulmonary Silicosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Metin Akgun, MD, FCCP

Department of Pulmonary Medicine
Atatürk University, Faculty of Medicine
Erzurum, Turkey

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Akgun: The first cases of silicosis due to denim sandblasting were reported in 2005. In 2007, we evaluated 145 former male denim sandblasters who had an exposure history to at least 1 month with a latency period at least ten months; 77 (53%) were diagnosed as silicosis according to the profusion category of opacities of 1/0 or greater. In this study, we reported 4-year follow-up results of this cohort. Out of 83 sandblasters who were evaluated in this follow-up study, nine died and of the remaining 74, 96% had radiographic evidence of silicosis based on the same criteria and 66% had pulmonary function loss, which was defined as at least 12% or more decrease on FVC, predicted.

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Long Work Week, Heavy Lifting Linked To Decreased Fertility in Nurses

Dr. Audrey J Gaskins Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Audrey J Gaskins
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gaskins: Previous studies have linked shift work, long working hours, and physical factors to an increased risk of menstrual cycle disturbances, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and low birth weight; however the association with fecundity is inconsistent. Several papers have also reviewed the occupational exposures of health care workers and concluded that reproductive health issues are a concern. Therefore we sought to determine the extent to which work schedules and physical factors were associated with fecundity in a large cohort of nurses.

Our main findings were that that working >40 hours per week and moving or lifting a heavy load >15 times per day (including repositioning or transferring patients) were associated with reduced fecundity in our cohort of female nurses planning pregnancy. However, all other factors such as frequency of night work, duration of rotating and non-rotating night shifts, and time spent walking or standing at work were not significantly associated with fecundity in this cohort.

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Lack of Sleep May Impair Memory Functions In Stressful Situations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jonathan Cedernaes M.D., Ph.D. Department of Neuroscience Uppsala University Sweden
Jonathan Cedernaes M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Uppsala University
Sweden

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Cedernaes: Sleep is known to facilitate the formation of long-term memory in humans, by transferring newly learned memories from short-term to long-term memory stores. Studies however indicate that even shorter periods of sleep – including naps – can ensure access to different types of memories under normal restful conditions. Furthermore, while some studies have shown that acute sleep loss can exacerbate e.g. physiological responses to acute stress, it it has not been studied whether shortened sleep in combination with acute cognitive stress can have a negative impact on the retrieval of newly learned memories.

With this background in mind, we conducted a study where we aimed to investigate how nocturnal sleep duration impacts this memory transfer, and to what extent long-term memories formed by sleep remain accessible after acute cognitive stress.

We recruited 15 participants who in each of two sessions first underwent a learning session in the evening, during which they learned 15 card pair locations on a computer screen. Then, in one of the two experimental session, subjects slept for half a night (4-hr), instead being able to sleep for a full night (8-hr) in the other session. On the morning after each sleep condition, we had the subjects try to recall as many card pair locations as possible. We found that following half a night of sleep (4-hr), participants were equally able to recall memories for the learned card pair locations, as after a full night of sleep (8-hr). However, we also showed that the ability to retrieve memories following 30 minutes of acute stress, in the morning after these two sleep conditions, was different depending on whether the participants had slept for 8 or 4 hours. Following short sleep, the 30-min long stress exposure reduced the participants’ ability to recall the card pair locations that the participants had learned the previous night by around 10%. In contrast, no such stress-induced memory impairment was observed when the same men were allowed to sleep for a full night.

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Occupational Exposure To Low Dose Radiation Linked To Leukemia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Klervi Leuraud, Epidemiologist
Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety
Cedex, France

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Leuraud: INWORKS was performed to quantify the risk of cancer mortality associated to protracted low doses of ionizing radiation typical of occupational or environmental exposures, as well as of diagnostic medical exposures. While such risks are well known for acute exposures as those experienced by the Japanese survivors of the A-bombs, there is still a lack of information for exposures experienced by the workers and the public. Our study confirms the existence of an association between leukemia mortality and chronic exposure to low doses received by nuclear workers.

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Male Sex, Age and Occupation Linked To Workplace Suicide

Dr. Hope M. Tiesman MSPH, PhD CDC, AtlantaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Hope M. Tiesman MSPH, PhD

CDC, Atlanta

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Tiesman: The authors regularly monitor non-occupational injury trends, including the recent and significant increase in suicide rates. This finding led the authors to consider how these non-occupational trends impacted the workplace. We used data for two large national surveillance systems.  We obtained data on workplace suicides from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injury (CFOI) which compiles data on all fatal work-related injuries in the US.  We obtained data on non-workplace suicides from the CDC’s Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System or WISQARS. WISQARS data are compiled using national death certificate data.  From here we calculated suicide rates and compared trends across workplace and non-workplace suicides as well as examined the socio-demographics and occupational characteristics of those who chose suicide in the workplace.

Several important findings to highlight.  Across the 8-yr timeframe, we found that workplace suicide rates remained relatively stable, even somewhat decreasing that it is until 2007 when a large and significant jump in rates was found.  This was in contrast with non-workplace suicide rates which increased over the entire study period.  Men had signifıcantly higher workplace suicide rates compared to women and generally, as age increased, so did workplace suicide rates.  Those aged between 65 and 74 years had the highest suicide rate of all workers which was also a bit different from non-workplace suicide rates.  Finally, we found that those in protective service occupations, such as police and firefighters, had the highest workplace suicide rates, followed closely by those in farming/fishing/and forestry occupations.  These occupations have been associated with higher overall suicide rates in prior studies.  A somewhat novel finding was that those in automotive maintenance and repair occupations also had significantly higher workplace suicide rates. Continue reading

Nurses and Nursing Assistants Face Occupational Injury and Workplace Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ahmed Gomaa, MD, ScD, MSPH
Medical Officer / Surveillance Branch
Division of Surveillance Hazard Evaluation and Health Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Gomaa:  In 2013, one in five reported nonfatal occupational injuries occurred among workers in the health care and social assistance industry, the highest number of such injuries reported for all private industries. In 2011, U.S. health care personnel experienced seven times the national rate of musculoskeletal disorders compared with all other private sector workers. To reduce the number of preventable injuries among health care personnel, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), with collaborating partners, created the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) to collect detailed injury data to help target prevention efforts. OHSN, a free, voluntary surveillance system for health care facilities, enables prompt and secure tracking of occupational injuries by type, occupation, location, and risk factors.

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Pitch Count May Not Be Best Predictor Of Injury In MLB Players

Thomas Karakolis Department of Kinesiology University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas Karakolis

Department of Kinesiology
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers have an injury rate approaching 1 in 4, depending on the study you look at. As an occupational injury rate, this number is extremely high. In fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find another industry where the injury rate is that high.

One way that coaches and managers in MLB are trying to lower the
injury rate is to restrict the total ‘workload’ on pitchers per
season. Particularly in young pitchers, many MLB organizations
restrict the number of innings a pitcher can pitch based upon the
number of innings they pitched the previous year. Essentially, they
are using innings pitched as a surrogate for workload.

If this is an effective strategy, you would expect a correlation
between the increase in number of innings pitched between successive
seasons and future injury. Our study found that no such correlation
exists. Innings pitched does not appear to be a sensitive enough
measure to asses the true workload a pitcher experiences throughout
the season.

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Pesticides In Fruits and Vegetables May Lower Sperm Count In Men

Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D. Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02113MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D.
Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02113

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Chavarro: Previous studies have shown that occupational exposure to pesticides is harmful to sperm production. However, whether the same is true for pesticide residues in our food, the most important source of exposure to pesticides for most people, is unclear.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Chavarro: Bottom line, men who consumed the greatest amounts of fruits and vegetables with large amounts of pesticide residues had significantly lower sperm counts and fewer morphologically normal sperm.

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Male Occupation and Health Can Affect Fertility

Michael L. Eisenberg, M.D. Director, Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Assistant Professor Department of Urology Stanford University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael L. Eisenberg, M.D.
Director, Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery
Assistant Professor
Department of Urology
Stanford University School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Eisenberg: There has been growing data that a man’s overall health may impact his fertility. As such, we wanted to explore this link using the NICHD LIFE Study which has the unique ability to account for both health and work exposure in men with both normal and abnormal fertility. We found that certain aspects of a man’s work and health can impact his semen parameters.

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Hand Dermatitis Increases In Health Care Workers Due To Hand Washing Measures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Jill Stocks PhD, Research Fellow
Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health,
Centre for Epidemiology; NIHR Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, Centre for Primary Care
Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, UK.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Stocks: Reducing healthcare-associated infections has been a priority in the UK over recent decades; and this has been reflected in interventions and guidelines focussing on improving hygiene procedures. During 2004 to 2008 the Cleanyourhands campaign promoted hand hygiene in all NHS trusts. There was anecdotal evidence from dermatologists and occupational physicians that irritant contact dermatitis was on the increase in healthcare workers, and that it was caused by hand hygiene. We investigated whether or not there was an increase in the incidence of irritant contact dermatitis in healthcare workers due to hand hygiene or other types of hygiene coinciding with the interventions and guidelines promoting hygiene. We used reports made by dermatologists to the Occupational and Health reporting network, a voluntary surveillance scheme collecting reports of work-related ill-health. Trends in incidence of irritant contact dermatitis due to hygiene in healthcare workers were compared with trends in control groups (irritant contact dermatitis in workers with other jobs) using a quasi-experimental (interrupted time series) design. We found a 4.5 fold increase in irritant contact dermatitis due to hand hygiene and hygiene in general in healthcare workers between 1996 and 2012. The results also suggested a steepening of the increase in incidence during the rollout period of the Cleanyourhands campaign but the limitations of the data made this less clear cut.
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Study Addresses Mental Health Concerns In Professional Footballers

Prof.dr. Judith K. Sluiter Principal Investigator Manager KMKA: Kenniscentrum Medische Keuringen in Arbeid Nationaal secretaris voor ICOH (International Commission on Occupational Health) Coronel Instituut voor Arbeid en Gezondheid, Academisch Medisch Centrum / UvA Meibergdreef AmsterdamMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof.dr. Judith K. Sluiter Principal Investigator
Manager KMKA: Kenniscentrum Medische Keuringen in Arbeid
Nationaal secretaris voor ICOH (International Commission on Occupational Health)
Coronel Instituut voor Arbeid en Gezondheid, Academisch Medisch Centrum / UvA Meibergdreef Amsterdam

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Prof. Sluiter: Professional footballers contain a group of employees working in a job with specific job demands. The occupational guidance and prevention of decreased work functioning of workers in these kinds of jobs should receive more attention. The mental health of professional footballers receive less attention compared to their physical health. We studied the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems and psychosocial difficulties in a group of current and former professional footballers, and we explored the association between having had psychosocial stressors and the health conditions under study.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The response rate was 29% with available data from 253 footballers. In current players, the prevalence of mental health complaints ranged from 5% (burnout) to 26% (anxiety/depression). In former players, the prevalence ranged from 16% (burnout) to 39% (anxiety/depression). A small percentage of players had low self-esteem (3-5%). One quarter to two-fifth of the players showed adverse nutrition behaviour. Small but significant association between experiencing lower social support (OR=1.1) and having had recent life events (OR=1.4-1.6) and mental health complaints were found in current players. Having had severe injuries was associated with better nutrition behavior. In former players, having had life events showed a preventive effect on smoking (OR=0.4) and having had previous surgery was significantly associated with current smoking behavior (OR=1.9).

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Pregnant Flight Attendants May Have Increased Risk of Miscarriage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Barbara Grajewski, Ph.D., M.S., Epidemiologist

Elizabeth Whelan, Ph.D., Branch Chief
Christina Lawson, Ph.D., Epidemiologist
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: The study, published January 5 online ahead of print in the journal Epidemiology, looked at potential workplace reproductive hazards for flight attendants. While in flight, flight attendants are exposed to cosmic radiation from space and, periodically, can be exposed to radiation from solar particle events. Flight attendants can also experience circadian disruption (disruption to the body’s internal time clock) from traveling across time zones and from working during hours when they would normally be asleep.

For this study, we analyzed 840 pregnancies among 673 female flight attendants and examined company records of 2 million single flights flown by these women. From these data, we estimated a marker of circadian disruption—working during normal sleeping hours—and exposure to cosmic and solar particle event radiation for each flight. This gives us a much more specific estimate of the exposures these workers face on the job every day. We also assessed the physical demands of the job, such as standing and walking for more than 8 hours a day and bending at the waist more than 25 times a day. Cosmic radiation and circadian disruption among flight attendants are linked very closely on many flights and are very difficult to look at separately when trying to understand what causes miscarriage. This is the first study that has attempted to separate these two exposures to determine which is potentially linked to miscarriage. This study is also an improvement over other studies in its assessment of cosmic radiation for each individual flight flown and from documentation of solar particle events. Earlier studies have looked at how many years a flight attendant has worked or other ways to estimate exposures that are not as specific.

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Pesticide Exposure May Impact Development Of ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jason R. Richardson MS,PhD DABT Associate Professor
Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and
Resident Member
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
Piscataway, NJ

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Richardson:  Although ADHD is often though of as a genetic disorder, no single gene can explain more than a fraction of the cases. This suggests that environmental factors are likely to interact with genetic susceptibility to increase risk for ADHD. Our study reports that exposure of pregnant mice to relatively low levels of a commonly used pesticide reproduces the behavioral effects of ADHD in their offspring. Because the study was in animals, we wanted to see if there was any association in humans. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention we found that children and adolescents with elevated levels of metabolites of these pesticides in their urine, which indicates exposure, were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

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Excess Working Hours Linked To Higher Alcohol Use

Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Helsinki, Finland.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Marianna Virtanen PhD
Unit of Expertise for Work and Organizations
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Helsinki, Finland.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Professor Virtanen: Risky alcohol use is common among working populations but the contribution of work-related factors such as long working hours has rarely been studied. In the present study we performed the first systematic analysis on published studies regarding long working hours and risky alcohol use and added unpublished individual participant data to the analyses. Altogether 61 studies were included in the cross sectional analysis and 20 studies in the prospective analysis. The pooled cross sectional analysis showed 11% higher alcohol use associated with long working hours. In the prospective analysis we found that working 49-54 hours a week was associated with a 13% increase in the probability of new-onset risky alcohol use and working 55 hours or more with a 12% increased risk.

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Night-Shift Work Linked To Increased Mortality In Nurses

Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH Associate Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Epidemiology Harvard School of Public Health Channing Division of Network MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH

Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health
Channing Division of Network Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Schernhammer: The study is an observational cohort study of over 70,000 registered nurses from within the US who reported the total number of years they had worked rotating night work and were followed for several decades. We examined overall mortality in these women, and observed significantly higher overall mortality, as well as higher mortality from cardiovascular disease in women with several years of rotating night shift work, compared to nurses who had never worked night shifts. There was also some suggestion for modest and non-significant increases in mortality from a few cancers. The study is unique due to its size, the fact that all participants were nurses (eliminating potential biases arising from differing occupational exposures), the long follow-up, and the possibility to take into account most known risk factors for chronic diseases that we currently know of (all of this information has been collected regularly and repeatedly).  Continue reading

Pilots and Cabin Crew Fly With Greater Risk of Melanoma

Martina Sanlorenzo, MD Department of Dermatology Mount Zion Cancer Research Center University of California, San FranciscoMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Martina Sanlorenzo, MD
Department of Dermatology
Mount Zion Cancer Research Center
University of California, San Francisco


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Sanlorenzo: We recently performed a meta-analysis and found an increased risk of melanoma in pilots and cabin crew. One of the possible occupational hazards responsible for this risk is UV radiation.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Sanlorenzo: We performed UV measurements in airplane cockpits during flight and we found that windshields blocked UV-B but allowed UV-A transmission. We compared the UV-A dose in airplanes with the UV-A dose in tanning beds, whose use is a known risk factor for melanoma. Pilots flying for 56.6 minutes at 30,000 feet received the same amount of UV-A carcinogenic effective radiation of a 20-minute tanning beds session.
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Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Elevated in Law Enforcement Officers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Vasileia Varvarigou MD
, Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health and Senior Medical Resident, St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts Medical School and
Stefanos N Kales MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Harvard School of Public Health, Division Chief of Occupational Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance/ Harvard Medical School

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous epidemiologic studies of firefighters have documented markedly increased risks of acute death from heart disease during strenuous activities such as fire suppression as compared to non-emergency duties. We hypothesized that certain law enforcement tasks could serve as an occupational trigger in susceptible police officers, leading to an increased frequency of sudden cardiac death during stressful duties.

Our main objective therefore, was to assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.
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HIV Transmitted To Woman Via Manicure Tools

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Luís Fernando de Macedo Brígido M.D. Ph.D.
Núcleo de Doenças de Vinculação Sanguínea e Sexual
Centro de Virologia  Instituto Adolfo Lutz
São Paulo Brasil

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Fomite transmission of HIV, especially in occupational exposure, have been reported, but the use of manicure utensils has not been previously associated to HIV transmission.  We report a case where none of the classical modes of transmission were identified, and a detailed review of clinical history and phylogenetic analysis allowed the association of the case’s infection to manicure care episodes at home with an HIV infected women many years ago.

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Shift Work May Reduce Cognitive Performance

Dr. Philip Tucker Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe  Medical Research: What is the background for this stuMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Philip Tucker
Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg
College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd
Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe
Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Tucker: Shift work, like jet-lag, is known to disrupt workers’ normal circadian rhythms (i.e. their body clocks) and their social life. It is also associated with greater risk of developing ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer and reproductive problems. Several studies have also shown that shift workers experience heightened fatigue and sleepiness, particularly at night, and this may affect job performance and safety. However, very little is known about the long-term consequences of shift work on cognitive abilities. We followed a large sample of shift workers and non-shift workers over 10 years, testing their cognitive performance every 5 years. We found that the shift workers’ cognitive performance was lower than that of the day workers.  The difference was greatest for those who had worked shifts for more than 10 years. The shift workers’ cognitive function recovered after they quit shift work, but this recovery took at least 5 years from time that they stopped working shifts. The effects could not be attributed to poorer sleep quality among shift workers. Rather, it seems likely that the findings reflect the disruption of the shift workers’ circadian rhythms, which as been shown by other researchers to have an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health over the lifespan.

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Smokers’ Homes Have High Air Pollution Levels

Dr. John Cherrie PhD Honorary Professor in Occupational Hygiene Institute of Applied Health Sciences Aberdeen, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. John Cherrie PhD
Honorary Professor in Occupational Hygiene
Institute of Applied Health Sciences
Aberdeen, UK


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cherrie: We set out to bring together measurements of fine particle levels in homes where smoking takes place, to compare these with smoke-free homes and then to estimate how much of these fine particles are inhaled by people at different stages in their life. We also wanted to look at the exposure to particles of non-smokers living with smokers and compare this with the exposure of people living in heavily polluted major cities around the world.
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Cigarette Smoking Prevalence Varies By Gender and Occupation

MedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Girija Syamlal MBBS, MPH , Epidemiologist
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
CDC, Morgantown, West Virginia
CDC/NIOSH/DRDS
Morgantown,WV 26505

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Syamlal: During 2004–2011, of the 141 million U.S. adults, 20.7% were current cigarette smokers. Smoking prevalences were higher among men (22.8%) than women (18.3%). In both men and women, cigarette smoking prevalence varied widely by occupational group. In certain occupations, the prevalence of smoking was three times greater than the Healthy People 2020 goal that aims to reduce cigarette smoking prevalence to 12%.

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Take a Short Walk: Don’t Sit For Long Periods of Time

Saurabh S. Thosar, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon Health & Science UniversiMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Saurabh S. Thosar, Ph.D.,
Postdoctoral Researcher
Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences,
Oregon Health & Science University


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Thosar: We discovered that 3 hours of sitting leads to an impairment in shear rate and an impairment in femoral artery endothelial function. When systematic breaks are added in the sitting time the shear rate and the endothelial function are preserved.
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Poor Sleep Linked To Missed Work Days

Tea Lallukka, PhD Finnish Institute of Occupational Health & University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tea Lallukka, PhD
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health &
University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health
University of Helsinki, Finland


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Lallukka: Our study used nationally representative survey data linked with
register data on medically certified sickness absence among working
-aged Finnish women and men. We showed consistent associations between
insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, and being tired and sickness
absence. The follow-up lasted around 7 years.
Sickness absence days were derived from comprehensive registers from
the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The associations were
broadly similar among women and men. Furthermore, they remained even
after considering key correlates of sleep and sickness absence
including socioeconomic position, working conditions, health
behaviors, obesity, and mental and physical health. Health data were
derived from physical examination conducted by field physicians. These
data are more objective, and help provide more robust evidence. We
further covered all key sleep disturbances and sleep duration for more
comprehensive understanding about the contribution of sleep to
sickness absence. Finally, a novel method developed by the authors
(Härkänen & Kaikkonen) allowed us to estimate the difference in
sickness absence days per working year among those reporting and not
reporting different sleep disturbances. Using the difference in days
absent from work, we were further able to estimate the hypothetical
direct costs of sickness absence highlighting notable societal
significance of sleep. Thus, a large part of all costs of sickness
absence are attributable to poor sleep. For example, those sleeping 5
hours or less or 10 hours or more, were absent from work ca 5-9 days
more, as compared to those with optimal sleep length. The optimal
sleep length with the lowest risk of sickness absence was 7 hours 46
minutes for men and 7 hours 38 minutes for women.
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Shift Work May Raise Risk of Diabetes

Professor  Zuxun Lu School of Public Health Tongii Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhun, Hubei, China.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor  Zuxun Lu
School of Public Health
Tongii Medical College
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Wuhun, Hubei, China.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Prof. Lu: The main finding of this systematic review and meta-analysis was that shift work is associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus (DM). The association between shift work and DM appeared to be independent of physical activity, family of history of DM and body mass index. We found that the increased risk of diabetes mellitus was more pronounced in rotating shift group and male shift workers than in other shift group and female shift workers, respectively.
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