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Logo of bmcneulBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Neurology
BMC Neurol. 2007; 7: 24.
Published online Aug 8, 2007. doi:  10.1186/1471-2377-7-24
PMCID: PMC1988798
High prevalence of extrapyramidal signs and symptoms in a group of Italian dental technicians
Edito Fabrizio,1 Nicola Vanacore,2 Marcella Valente,1 Alfonso Rubino,1 and Giuseppe Mecocorresponding author1
1Department of Neurological Sciences, "La Sapienza" University, Viale Università 3000185 Rome, Italy
2National Centre of Epidemiology, National Institute of Health, Via Giano della Bella 34, 00161 Rome, Italy
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Edito Fabrizio: edito/at/; Nicola Vanacore: vanacore/at/; Marcella Valente: marcella.valente/at/; Alfonso Rubino: alf-rub/at/; Giuseppe Meco: giuseppe.meco/at/
Received December 15, 2006; Accepted August 8, 2007.
Occupational and chronic exposure to solvents and metals is considered a possible risk factor for Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. While manufacturing dental prostheses, dental technicians are exposed to numerous chemicals that contain toxins known to affect the central nervous system, such as solvents (which contain n-hexane in particular) and metals (which contain mercury, iron, chromium, cobalt and nickel).
We performed an epidemiological and clinical study on all 27 dental technicians working in a school for dental technicians. We asked all the technicians to fill in a self-administered questionnaire on extrapyramidal symptoms, and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), a self-administered screening instrument, to detect any psychiatric disorders. Moreover, we invited all 27 dental technicians to undergo a neurological examination and provide a detailed occupational history in our clinic.
Of the 14 subjects who underwent the neurological examination, four had postural tremor and one had a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
We found a high prevalence of extrapyramidal signs and symptoms in this group of male dental technicians working in a state technical high school in Rome. We believe that this finding may be due to the presence of toxins in the dental technician's work.
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