Background: Mount Oyama, on the Japanese island of Miyakejima, began erupting in June 2000, necessitating the evacuation of 3,000 island residents. Volcanic gas emissions, primarily consisting of sulfur dioxide (SO2), gradually decreased and residents returned to the island after the evacuation order was lifted in February 2005. Objectives: To assess the exposure-effect and exposure-response relationships between SO2 exposure and effects on respiratory system in adult Miyakejima residents. Method: Health checkups focusing on pulmonary function and respiratory/irritative symptoms were conducted six times every November from 2006 to 2011. The study population comprised 168 subjects who underwent all health checkups. SO2 concentrations were measured at six fixed monitoring stations in inhabitable areas. Result: Based on the annual mean SO2 concentration, inhabitable areas were classified into three categories; namely, lower (L), higher (H-1), and highest (H-2) areas. Average SO2 concentrations (ppb) during 3 months prior to each health checkup dropped from 11.3 to 3.29, 32.2 to 13.4 and 75.1 to 12.6 from 2006 to 2010/2011 in L, H-1, and H-2. No significant declines in pulmonary function were observed in all areas. However, prevalence of subjective symptoms such as "Cough," "Irritation and/or pain in throat," "Irritation, runny nose, and/or nasal sniffles," and "Irritation and/or pain in the eyes," dependently increased on SO2 concentration. Odds ratios were statistically significant at approximately 70 ppb of SO2 or above. Conclusion: Adult residents of Miyakejima island showed no deterioration in pulmonary function at SO2 levels, but complained of respiratory/irritative symptoms in an SO2 concentration-dependent manner.
Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of supervised exercise among nurses conducting shift work for health promotion. Methods: A total of 30 healthy female nurses conducting shift work participated in this study and they were randomly assigned to one of the following 2 groups: The supervised exercise group (SG; participants exercised under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT)) and the voluntary exercise group (VG; participants exercised without supervision). The study participants were asked to exercise twice/week for 12 weeks for 24 sessions. The primary outcome was aerobic fitness, and the secondary outcomes were muscle strength, anthropometric data, biochemical parameters, and mental health. We compared all the outcomes before and after the intervention within each group and between both groups at follow-up. Results: Aerobic fitness increased in the SG whereas it decreased in the VG, but these changes were not statistically significant (p=0.053 and 0.073, respectively). However, the between-group difference was significant in the intervention effect (p=0.010). Muscle strength, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and metabolic profile (high-molecular weight adiponectin), and depressive symptom significantly improved in the SG over time, even though the SG exercised less as compared with the VG. Moreover, significant differences in muscle strength, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and reactive oxygen metabolite levels were observed between both groups, and these parameters were better in the SG than in the VG. Conclusions: Our data-suggest the effectiveness of exercise supervised by a PT at the workplace of nurses conducting shift work for health promotion.
Objectives: This study identified perceived employability trajectories and their associations with sleeping difficulties and depressive symptoms over time. Methods: The sample was part of the Swedish Longitudinal Survey on Health from 2008 to 2014 (n=4,583). Results: Two stable trajectories (high and low perceived employability over time) and three trajectories with changes (increasing, decreasing, and V-shaped perceived employability over time) were identified. Workers with stable low perceived employability reported more sleeping difficulties and depressive symptoms than those who perceived high or increasing employability. Conclusion: Perceived employability is a rather stable personal resource, which is associated with well-being over time. However, changes in perceived employability do not seem to be echoed in well-being, at least not as immediately as theoretically expected.
Objectives: Occupational lead (Pb) exposure is still an important health problem in the world. Long-term Pb exposure causes several adverse effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes of inflammation markers with chronic Pb exposure by analyzing neopterin levels and kynurenine (Kyn) to tryptophan (Trp) ratio that reflects indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity and to compare with healthy volunteers' parameters. Methods: Blood lead levels (BLLs) were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometry. Urinary neopterin and serum Kyn and Trp levels were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Results: According to our results, mean BLL of the 29 workers was 20.4±9.6 μg/dl. Urinary neopterin levels, serum Kyn levels, and Kyn/Trp of Pb workers (188±52 μmol/mol creatinine, 2.70±0.66 μM, and 43.19±10.38 μmol/mmol, respectively) were significantly higher than controls (144±35 μmol/mol creatinine, 2.08±0.34 μM, and 32.24±7.69 μmol/mmol, respectively). Pb-exposed workers were divided into further three groups according to their BLLs: as 10-19 μg/dl (n=18), 20-29 μg/dl (n=8), and 30-49 μg/dl (n=3). Neopterin levels of the workers with BLL of 30-49 μg/dl were significantly higher than those of BLL with 10-29 μg/dl, while Trp levels decreased. Kyn/Trp of workers with BLL of 30-49 μg/dl were elevated significantly compared with the workers with BLL<30 μg/dl. In addition to neopterin, Kyn and Kyn/Trp levels were positively influenced by Pb exposure. Conclusions: Increased level of inflammation markers confirms the adverse effects of Pb even low BLLs, and we suggest that monitoring BLLs with inflammation markers could help to prevent serious occupational health problems.
Objectives: Mental disorders are a key cause of sickness absence (SA) and challenge prolonging working careers. Thus, evidence on the development of SA trends is needed. In this study, educational differences in long SAs due to mental disorders were examined in two age groups among employees of the City of Helsinki from 2004 to 2013. Methods: All permanently and temporarily employed staff aged 18-34 and 35-49 were included in the analyses (n=~27800 per year). SA spells of ≥14 days due to mental disorders were examined annually. Education was classified to higher and lower levels. Joinpoint regression was used to identify major turning points in SA trends. Results: Joinpoint regression models showed that lower educated groups had more long SAs spells due to mental disorders than those groups with higher education. SA trends decreased during the study period in all studied age and educational groups. Lower educated age groups had similar SA trends. Younger employees with higher education had the fewest SAs. Conclusions: A clear educational gradient was found in long SAs due to mental disorders during the study period. SA trends decreased from 2004 to 2013.
Objectives: The manual for the Japanese Stress Check Program recommends use of the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (BJSQ) from among the program's instruments and proposes criteria for defining "high-stress" workers. This study aimed to examine how accurately the BJSQ identifies workers with or without potential psychological distress. Methods: We used an online survey to administer the BJSQ with a psychological distress scale (K6) to randomly selected workers (n=1,650). We conducted receiver operating characteristics curve analyses to estimate the screening performance of the cutoff points that the Stress Check Program manual recommends for the BJSQ. Results: Prevalence of workers with potential psychological distress defined as K6 score ≥13 was 13%. Prevalence of "high-risk" workers defined using criteria recommended by the program manual was 16.7% for the original version of the BJSQ. The estimated values were as follows: sensitivity, 60.5%; specificity, 88.9%; Youden index, 0.504; positive predictive value, 47.3%; negative predictive value, 93.8%; positive likelihood ratio, 6.0; and negative likelihood ratio, 0.4. Analyses based on the simplified BJSQ indicated lower sensitivity compared with the original version, although we expected roughly the same screening performance for the best scenario using the original version. Conclusions: Our analyses in which psychological distress measured by K6 was set as the target condition indicate less than half of the identified "high-stress" workers warrant consideration for secondary screening for psychological distress.
Brazilian women are still a recurring target of discrimination in the workplace, facing violence related to gender relations and moral harassment, especially when they are pregnant. When the worker perceives discriminatory acts and attitudes or any violation of the rights guaranteed by law, she may appeal to the Labor Court to initiate legal action. This in turn exposes the worker to a number of issues, such as workplace persecution and future dismissal. The rights of pregnant women to temporary stability, free time for medical examinations, change of duties and maternity leave contrast with the usurpation of the administration's workforce. The rights of pregnant women to temporary stability, free time for medical examinations, change of duties and maternity leave contrast with the growing power of labor administration.