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Nerve conduction in relation to vibration exposure - a non-positive cohort study.

Journal article
Authors Helena Sandén
Andreas Jonsson
Gunnar B Wallin
Lage Burström
Ronnie Lundström
Tohr Nilsson
Mats Hagberg
Published in Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology
Volume 5
Pages art. 21
ISSN 1745-6673
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages art. 21
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1186/1745-6673-5-21
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Abstract

ABSTRACT:Background Peripheral neuropathy is one of the principal clinical disorders in workers with hand-arm vibration syndrome. Electrophysiological studies aimed at defining the nature of the injury have provided conflicting results. One reason for this lack of consistency might be the sparsity of published longitudinal etiological studies with both good assessment of exposure and a well-defined measure of disease. Against this background we measured conduction velocities in the hand after having assessed vibration exposure over 21 years in a cohort of manual workers. Methods The study group consisted of 155 male office and manual workers at an engineering plant that manufactured pulp and paper machinery. The study has a longitudinal design regarding exposure assessment and a cross-sectional design regarding the outcome of nerve conduction. Hand-arm vibration dose was calculated as the product of self-reported occupational exposure, collected by questionnaire and interviews, and the measured or estimated hand-arm vibration exposure in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2008. Distal motor latencies in median and ulnar nerves and sensory nerve conduction over the carpal tunnel and the finger-palm segments in the median nerve were measured in 2008. Before the nerve conduction measurement, the subjects were systemically warmed by a bicycle ergometer test. Results There were no differences in distal latencies between subjects exposed to hand-arm vibration and unexposed subjects, neither in the sensory conduction latencies of the median nerve, nor in the motor conduction latencies of the median and ulnar nerves. Seven subjects (9%) in the exposed group and three subjects (12%) in the unexposed group had both pathological sensory nerve conduction at the wrist and symptoms suggestive of carpal tunnel syndrome. Conclusion Nerve conduction measurements of peripheral hand nerves revealed no exposure-response association between hand-arm vibration exposure and distal neuropathy of the large myelinated fibers in a cohort of male office and manual workers.

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