Objective: This study was undertaken to review the diagnostic ability of different quantification methods in the assessment of vibration-induced white finger (VWF), the typical clinical manifestation of vascular injuries in Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Methods: A literature search of original and major review articles related to the quantification techniques for diagnosing vascular injuries in HAVS was performed. Relevant data from the publications were extracted and included in this study for reporting and discussion. Results: Few studies were available to substantiate the diagnostic techniques using the nail press test and nailfold capillaroscopy. Also, few studies were found to conclusively demonstrate the diagnostic ability using thermometry and thermography incorporated with cold provocation. Some recent reports raised the question regarding the diagnostic ability of finger plethysmography; but by virtue of its comparable assessment parameters and better diagnostic performance, plethysmography appears to be a suitable diagnostic method. In noninvasive quantification of vascular injuries, diagnostic techniques like laser Doppler perfusion imaging and nailfold capillaroscopy require further evaluation in future studies. Conclusions: For a reliable objective diagnosis of VWF at present, quantification of vascular responses using a test battery including established methods like thermometry or thermography and strain gauge plethysmography appears to be useful.
Objectives: To investigate the injury of cell tight junctions and change in actin level in the alveolus epithelial cells of the lung after perfluoroisobutylene (PFIB) exposure and the role of myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) in the injury. Methods: Rats and mice were exposed to a sublethal dose of PFIB. The changes in tight junction zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), actin and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) were detected by immunofluorescence at 30 min, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, 48 and 72 h after PFIB exposure. The role of MLCK was analyzed by lung indices and the actin level. Results: The normal ZO-1 immunofluorescence density and those after PFIB exposure were 71.63, 39.41, 37.59, 35.71, 33.22, 31.34, 31.61, 24.51, 40.03 and 44.71 respectively, The normal actin immunofluorescence density and those after PFIB exposure were 31.82, 36.46, 36.57, 41.60, 40.95, 35.41, 30.69, 19.96, 29.30 and 33.00 respectively, The normal MLCK immunofluorescence density and those after PFIB exposure were 61.21, 50.87, 48.37, 43.65, 41.96, 35.44, 31.77, 30.85, 33.10 and 38.20 respectively. When the MLCK inhibitor ML-7 was given in advance, pulmonary edema and actin degradation were suppressed. Conclusions: At an earlier stage, the increased permeability of the blood-air barrier after PFIB exposure is probably the result of injury of cell tight junctions that acts in concert with later changes in actin, resulting in an increase in permeability. MLCK could be a potential target for novel drug development for relief of acute lung injury.
Objective: To investigate whether or not brief bright light (BL) exposure on workday mornings can improve health, performance and safety in nurses with rapidly rotating shifts. Methods: We conducted a randomized crossover study involving registered nurses at a teaching hospital working a two-shift system including the night shift. Participants were instructed to expose themselves to BL for 10 min on workday mornings. Results: A total of 61 participants were enrolled in the present study. Thirty-one participants received BL exposure in the first month, and the other 30 received it in the second month. Significant improvements were noted in the BL periods compared with the non-BL periods for self-assessed sleepiness at 10:00 on day-shift days evaluated using the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, self-assessment of night sleep for day-shift days using the Visual Analogue Scale and for fatigue assessed using the Checklist Individual Strength Questionnaire. The estimated mean difference for each scale (95% confidence interval) was -0.55 (-0.91, -0.20), 0.37 (0.04, 0.70) and -2.13 (-3.78, -0.48), respectively. Mean response time evaluated using the psychomotor vigilance task test (PVT) showed significant improvement in the BL periods compared with the non-BL periods. No statistically significant differences were observed for sleepiness at 14:00, depression, number of PVT lapses or frequency of perceived adverse events and near misses. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that brief BL exposure on mornings preceding a day shift is effective in improving sleepiness and performance during day-shift work, subjective nighttime sleep on day-shift days, and perceived fatigue for the preceding two weeks in rapidly rotating shift nurses.
Objectives: Oxidative stress is thought to be the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis induced by asbestos, and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protects lung tissue against oxidative stress. We hypothesized that HO-1 is also associated with oxidative lung injury caused by exposure to potassium octatitanate whiskers (PT1), which is one of the asbestos substitutes. Methods: Male Wistar rats were administered 1 mg or 2 mg PT1 suspended in saline by a single intratracheal instillation and were sacrificed after recovery for 3 days, 1 wk, 1 mo, 3 mo or 6 mo. Gene expression of HO-1 protein and mRNA and immunostaining were investigated in rat lungs. Results: HO-1 protein expression was increased from 3 days to 1 mo and at 6 mo in the 1 or 2 mg PT1-exposed groups, and the gene expression of HO-1 mRNA was also increased at 3 days and from 1 mo to 6 mo. HO-1-positive cells were mainly found in the alveolar macrophages and the bronchial epithelial cells in immunostaining. Conclusions: These findings suggest that HO-1 is involved in lung damage caused by PT1.
Objectives: This study was performed to determine whether there is an association between impaired fasting glucose and noise-induced hearing loss. Methods: The study subjects were workers in one automobile manufacturing company. The data were obtained from results of health examinations during 2005 and 2009. The factors analyzed were age, smoking and alcohol history, work duration, environmental noise level, hearing thresholds, blood pressure, serum creatinine, initial hearing threshold and fasting glucose. Results: The hearing thresholds at 4,000 Hz frequencies for both ears were significantly higher in 2009 than those in 2005. The changes in the hearing thresholds of the subjects with an impaired fasting glucose (100-125 mg/dl) and diabetes (≥126 mg/dl) were greater than those of the normal (<100 mg/dl) group. After adjusting for variables such as age, smoking and alcohol history, environmental noise, hypertension and serum creatinine, fasting glucose was found to be a significant variable. Impaired fasting glucose (100-125 mg/dl) was significant (β=1.339, p=0.002) for the right ear, whereas it was not significant (β=0.639, p=0.121) for the left ear. Conclusions: Impaired fasting glucose, as well as diabetes, might be risk factors for hearing loss in individuals with exposure to certain noise levels. The results of this study suggest that impaired fasting glucose should be considered a risk factor for hearing loss.
Objectives: University teachers in China are expected to suffer serious occupational stress due to the expanding enrollment in universities without a proportional increase in teacher resources and the fact that all promotions for university teachers are determined based on not only teaching but also the outcome of scientific research. This study was designed to assess the occupational stress among university teachers in China and clarify its risk factors. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in Liaoning Province, the centralized area of higher education in Northeast China. Eight universities (2 multidiscipline and 6 specialized) and 10% of academic staff each were randomly sampled. Questionnaires pertaining to occupational stress indicated by the Chinese Version Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ) and demographic characteristics, health status, work situations, and personal and social resources were distributed in October 2008. A total of 827 effective respondents (response rate 76.4%) became our participants. Results: The average raw score of PSQ was 91.0 among the university teachers. General linear model analysis showed that the factors significantly associated with the PSQ score were, in standardized estimate (β) sequence, mental health, role overload, role insufficiency, social support, monthly income, role limitations due to physical problems, research finance and self-rated disease with adjustment for age and sex. Conclusion: We concluded that, in comparison to work-related factors and social support, mental health is a prominent risk factor for occupational stress in university teachers in China. Improvement of mental health and organizational climate should be considered to lessen the occupational stress of university teachers.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of a non-vaccine quarantine measure against pandemic influenza A H1N1 in workplaces. Methods: Design was quasi-cluster randomized controlled trial in two sibling companies (Cohort 1 n=6,634, Cohort 2 n=8,500). The follow-up period was from July 1st, 2009 to February 19th, 2010 (233 days). Intervention was voluntary waiting at home on full pay if the family became Influenza like Illness (ILI). The incidences of influenza A H1N1 and those of the subgroups whose families got ILI in both cohorts were compared by a Cox regression model and log-rank test. Results: There were 189 and 270 workers who got H1N1 infection during the follow-up period in each cohort. In this period 317 workers in Cohort 1 were asked to wait at home for several days (100% obeyed). The intervention group (Cohort 1) showed a statistically significant lower risk (p for log-rank test=0.033) compared with the control (Cohort 2), and the hazard ratio of the intervention was 0.799 [0.658-0.970] after adjusting for age, sex, BMI and smoking status. The workers who were asked to wait at home showed H1N1 infection more frequently (49 out of 317) compared with the workers whose family got ILI but were not asked to wait and work regularly (77 out of 990, RR=2.17 [1.48-3.18]). Conclusions: The waiting on full pay policy in the workplace reduced the overall risk of influenza A H1N1 by about 20% in one flu season in Japan. This kind of non-vaccine measure will be a promising option in workplaces to control the next flu pandemic.
Objective: We examined the pulmonary toxicity of nickel oxide nanoparticle agglomerates in the rat lung following an intratracheal instillation. Methods: The weighted average surface primary diameter of nickel oxide nanoparticles was 8.41 nm, and the count median diameter of nickel oxide nanoparticle agglomerates suspended in saline was 1.34 μm. Male Wistar rats were exposed to 1 mg (3.3 mg/kg) of nickel oxide nanoparticles intratracheally. The control group received intratracheal instillation of saline. Rats were dissected 3 days, 1 wk, 1 mo, 3 mo, and 6 mo after the instillation. Cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC)-2αβ in the lung tissue was determined by quantitative measurement of protein by ELISA. Results: The total cell count in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was increased persistently from 3 days to 6 mo. The neutrophil counts in BALF were also increased at 3 days, 1 wk, 3 mo, and 6 mo. In the lung tissue, infiltration of mainly neutrophils and alveolar macrophages was observed in alveoli from 3 days to 6 mo. The CINC-2αβ concentration was elevated from 3 days to 6 mo in the lung tissue. Conclusions: These results showed that micron-sized nickel oxide nanoparticle agglomerates also induced a persistent inflammatory response.