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1.  PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION FOR WELDERS 
Thorax  2014;70(2):198-199.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2014-206129
PMCID: PMC4445601  PMID: 25319209
Pneumococcus; pneumonia; welders; vaccination; mortality
2.  IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans 
Pearce, Neil | Blair, Aaron | Vineis, Paolo | Ahrens, Wolfgang | Andersen, Aage | Anto, Josep M. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Baccarelli, Andrea A. | Beland, Frederick A. | Berrington, Amy | Bertazzi, Pier Alberto | Birnbaum, Linda S. | Brownson, Ross C. | Bucher, John R. | Cantor, Kenneth P. | Cardis, Elisabeth | Cherrie, John W. | Christiani, David C. | Cocco, Pierluigi | Coggon, David | Comba, Pietro | Demers, Paul A. | Dement, John M. | Douwes, Jeroen | Eisen, Ellen A. | Engel, Lawrence S. | Fenske, Richard A. | Fleming, Lora E. | Fletcher, Tony | Fontham, Elizabeth | Forastiere, Francesco | Frentzel-Beyme, Rainer | Fritschi, Lin | Gerin, Michel | Goldberg, Marcel | Grandjean, Philippe | Grimsrud, Tom K. | Gustavsson, Per | Haines, Andy | Hartge, Patricia | Hansen, Johnni | Hauptmann, Michael | Heederik, Dick | Hemminki, Kari | Hemon, Denis | Hertz-Picciotto, Irva | Hoppin, Jane A. | Huff, James | Jarvholm, Bengt | Kang, Daehee | Karagas, Margaret R. | Kjaerheim, Kristina | Kjuus, Helge | Kogevinas, Manolis | Kriebel, David | Kristensen, Petter | Kromhout, Hans | Laden, Francine | Lebailly, Pierre | LeMasters, Grace | Lubin, Jay H. | Lynch, Charles F. | Lynge, Elsebeth | ‘t Mannetje, Andrea | McMichael, Anthony J. | McLaughlin, John R. | Marrett, Loraine | Martuzzi, Marco | Merchant, James A. | Merler, Enzo | Merletti, Franco | Miller, Anthony | Mirer, Franklin E. | Monson, Richard | Nordby, Karl-Cristian | Olshan, Andrew F. | Parent, Marie-Elise | Perera, Frederica P. | Perry, Melissa J. | Pesatori, Angela Cecilia | Pirastu, Roberta | Porta, Miquel | Pukkala, Eero | Rice, Carol | Richardson, David B. | Ritter, Leonard | Ritz, Beate | Ronckers, Cecile M. | Rushton, Lesley | Rusiecki, Jennifer A. | Rusyn, Ivan | Samet, Jonathan M. | Sandler, Dale P. | de Sanjose, Silvia | Schernhammer, Eva | Costantini, Adele Seniori | Seixas, Noah | Shy, Carl | Siemiatycki, Jack | Silverman, Debra T. | Simonato, Lorenzo | Smith, Allan H. | Smith, Martyn T. | Spinelli, John J. | Spitz, Margaret R. | Stallones, Lorann | Stayner, Leslie T. | Steenland, Kyle | Stenzel, Mark | Stewart, Bernard W. | Stewart, Patricia A. | Symanski, Elaine | Terracini, Benedetto | Tolbert, Paige E. | Vainio, Harri | Vena, John | Vermeulen, Roel | Victora, Cesar G. | Ward, Elizabeth M. | Weinberg, Clarice R. | Weisenburger, Dennis | Wesseling, Catharina | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Zahm, Shelia Hoar
Environmental Health Perspectives  2015;123(6):507-514.
Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans.
Objectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed.
Discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed.
Conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.
Citation: Pearce N, Blair A, Vineis P, Ahrens W, Andersen A, Anto JM, Armstrong BK, Baccarelli AA, Beland FA, Berrington A, Bertazzi PA, Birnbaum LS, Brownson RC, Bucher JR, Cantor KP, Cardis E, Cherrie JW, Christiani DC, Cocco P, Coggon D, Comba P, Demers PA, Dement JM, Douwes J, Eisen EA, Engel LS, Fenske RA, Fleming LE, Fletcher T, Fontham E, Forastiere F, Frentzel-Beyme R, Fritschi L, Gerin M, Goldberg M, Grandjean P, Grimsrud TK, Gustavsson P, Haines A, Hartge P, Hansen J, Hauptmann M, Heederik D, Hemminki K, Hemon D, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hoppin JA, Huff J, Jarvholm B, Kang D, Karagas MR, Kjaerheim K, Kjuus H, Kogevinas M, Kriebel D, Kristensen P, Kromhout H, Laden F, Lebailly P, LeMasters G, Lubin JH, Lynch CF, Lynge E, ‘t Mannetje A, McMichael AJ, McLaughlin JR, Marrett L, Martuzzi M, Merchant JA, Merler E, Merletti F, Miller A, Mirer FE, Monson R, Nordby KC, Olshan AF, Parent ME, Perera FP, Perry MJ, Pesatori AC, Pirastu R, Porta M, Pukkala E, Rice C, Richardson DB, Ritter L, Ritz B, Ronckers CM, Rushton L, Rusiecki JA, Rusyn I, Samet JM, Sandler DP, de Sanjose S, Schernhammer E, Seniori Costantini A, Seixas N, Shy C, Siemiatycki J, Silverman DT, Simonato L, Smith AH, Smith MT, Spinelli JJ, Spitz MR, Stallones L, Stayner LT, Steenland K, Stenzel M, Stewart BW, Stewart PA, Symanski E, Terracini B, Tolbert PE, Vainio H, Vena J, Vermeulen R, Victora CG, Ward EM, Weinberg CR, Weisenburger D, Wesseling C, Weiderpass E, Zahm SH. 2015. IARC Monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans. Environ Health Perspect 123:507–514; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409149
doi:10.1289/ehp.1409149
PMCID: PMC4455595  PMID: 25712798
3.  Epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, and accidental injury at work 
Aims
To assess the contribution of epilepsy and diabetes to occupational injury.
Methods
The Clinical Practice Research Datalink logs primary care data for 6% of the British population, coding all consultations and treatments. Using this we conducted a population-based case-control study, identifying patients aged 16-64 who had consulted over two decades for workplace injury, plus matched controls. By conditional logistic regression we assessed risks for diabetes and epilepsy overall, several diabetic complications and indices of poor control, occurrence of status epilepticus and treatment with hypoglycaemic and anti-epileptic agents.
Results
We identified 1,348 injury cases and 6,652 matched controls. 160 subjects (2%) had previous epilepsy, including 29 injury cases, while 199 (2.5%) had diabetes, including 77 with eye involvement and 52 with a record of poor control. Odds ratios (ORs) for occupational injury were close to unity, both in those with epilepsy (1.07) and diabetes (0.98) and in those prescribed anti-epileptic or hypoglycaemic treatments in the previous year (0.87 to 1.16). We found no evidence of any injury arising directly from a seizure and no-one had consulted about their epilepsy within 100 days before their injury consultation. Two cases and six controls had suffered status epilepticus (OR vs. never had epilepsy 1.61). Risks were somewhat higher for certain diabetic complications (OR 1.44), although lower among those with eye involvement (OR 0.70) or poor diabetic control (0.50). No associations were statistically significant.
Conclusions
No evidence was found that diabetes or epilepsy are important contributors to workplace injury in Britain.
doi:10.1093/occmed/kqu079
PMCID: PMC4431610  PMID: 24964785
epilepsy; diabetes; accidents; injury
4.  Incidence rates of surgically treated rhegmatogenous retinal detachment among manual workers, non-manual workers and housewives in Tuscany, Italy 
Purpose
Candidate risk factors for idiopathic rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) include heavy manual handling (requiring Valsalva’s maneuver). We assessed incidence rates of surgically treated idiopathic RRD among manual workers, non-manual workers and housewives resident in Tuscany, Italy.
Methods
We retrieved all hospital discharge records bearing a principal diagnosis corresponding to RRD coupled with retinal surgery for any resident of Tuscany during 1997-2009. After elimination of repeated admissions and patients with coexistent, associated conditions (including recent trauma), subjects aged 25–59 years were classified as manual workers, non-manual workers or housewives. Population data were extracted from the 2001 census.
Results
We identified 1,946 eligible cases (1,142 men). Among men, manual workers experienced a 1.8-fold higher age-standardized rate per 100,000 person-years than non-manual workers (17.4 [95% CI, 16.1–18.7] vs. 9.8 [95% CI, 8.8–10.8]). Age-standardized rates among women were 1.9-fold higher for manual workers (11.1 [95% CI, 9.8–12.3]) and 1.7-fold higher for housewives (9.5 [95% CI, 8.3–10.8]) than in non-manual workers (5.7 [95% CI, 4.8–6.6]).
Conclusions
This large population-based study suggests that manual workers are affected by idiopathic RRD requiring surgical treatment more often than non-manual workers. The higher rates of surgically treated RRD experienced by manual workers accord with the hypothesis that heavy manual handling may have a causal role.
doi:10.1007/s00420-013-0894-5
PMCID: PMC3855483  PMID: 23893253
manual work; retinal surgery; patient discharge; incidence study
5.  UPPER AIRWAYS CANCER, MYELOID LEUKAEMIA AND OTHER CANCERS IN A COHORT OF BRITISH CHEMICAL WORKERS EXPOSED TO FORMALDEHYDE 
American journal of epidemiology  2014;179(11):1301-1311.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer controversially has classified formaldehyde as causing nasopharyngeal carcinoma and myeloid leukaemia. To provide further information on this question, we extended follow-up of 14,008 chemical workers at six factories in England and Wales, covering the period 1941-2012. Mortality was compared with national death rates, and associations with incident upper airways cancer and leukaemia were explored in nested case-control analyses. Excess deaths were observed from cancers of the oesophagus (100 v 93.1 expected), stomach (182 v 141.4), rectum (107 v 86.8), liver (35 v 26.9) and lung (813 v 645.8), but none of these tumours exhibited a clear exposure-response relationship. Nested case-control analyses of 115 men with upper airways cancer (including one nasopharyngeal cancer), 92 with leukaemia, and 45 with myeloid leukaemia indicated no elevations of risk in the highest exposure category (high exposure for ≥1 year). When the two highest exposure categories were combined the odds ratio for myeloid leukaemia was 1.26 (95%confidence interval: 0.39, 4.08). Our results provide no support for a hazard of myeloid leukaemia, nasopharyngeal carcinoma or other upper airways tumours from formaldehyde, and indicate that any excess risk of these cancers, even from relatively high exposures, is at most small.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwu049
PMCID: PMC4189094  PMID: 24714728
Cancer; chemical industry; formaldehyde; mortality; myeloid leukaemia; nasopharyngeal cancer
6.  The role of mental health problems and common psychotropic drug treatments in accidental injury at work, a case-control study 
Objectives
Mental illness and psychotropic drugs have been linked with workplace injury, but few studies have measured exposures and outcomes independently or established their relative timings. To address this shortcoming, we conducted a case-control study nested within a database prospectively recording injury consultations, diagnoses and drug prescriptions.
Methods
The Clinical Practice Research Datalink logs primary care data for 6% of the British population, coding all consultations (by the Read system) and drug prescriptions. We identified 1,348 patients aged 16-64 years from this database who had consulted a family doctor or hospital over a 20-year period for workplace injury (cases, 479 diagnostic codes) and 6,652 age, sex, and practice-matched controls with no such consultation. Groups were compared in terms of consultations for mental health problems (1,328 codes) and prescription of psychotropic drugs prior to the case’s injury consultation, using conditional logistic regression.
Results
In total, 1,846 (23%) subjects had at least one psychiatric consultation before the index date and 1,682 (21%) had been prescribed a psychotropic drug. The odds ratio for prior mental health consultation was 1.44 (P<0.001) and that for psychotropic drug treatment was 1.57 (P<0.001). Risks were significantly elevated for several subclasses of mental health diagnosis (e.g. psychosis, neurosis) and for each of the drug classes analysed. Assuming causal relationships, about 9-10% of all workplace injuries leading to medical consultation were attributable to mental illness or psychotropic medication.
Conclusions
Mental health problems and psychotropic treatments may account for an important minority of workplace injuries.
doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101948
PMCID: PMC3984107  PMID: 24627304
7.  Dupuytren’s contracture and occupational exposure to hand-transmitted vibration 
Aims
The relation between Dupuytren’s contracture and occupational exposure to hand-transmitted vibration (HTV) has frequently been debated. We explored associations in a representative national sample of workers with well-characterised exposure to HTV.
Methods
We mailed a questionnaire to 21,201 subjects aged 16 – 64 years, selected at random from the age-sex registers of 34 general practices in Great Britain and to 993 subjects chosen randomly from military pay records, asking about occupational exposure to 39 sources of HTV and about fixed flexion contracture of the little or ring finger. Analysis was restricted to men at work in the previous week. Estimates were made of average daily vibration dose (A(8) r.m.s.) over that week. Associations with Dupuytren’s contracture were estimated by Poisson regression, both for lifetime exposure to HTV and for exposures in the past week >A(8) of 2.8 ms−2 r.m.s.. Estimates of relative risk (Prevalence Ratio (PR)) were adjusted for age, smoking status, social class and certain manual activities at work.
Results
In all 4,969 eligible male respondents supplied full information on the study variables. These included 72 men with Dupuytren’s contracture, 2,287 with occupational exposure to HTV, and 409 with A(8)>2.8 ms−2 in the past week. PRs for occupational exposure to HTV were elevated 1.5-fold. For men with an A(8)>2.8 ms−2 in the past week, the adjusted PR was 2.85 (95% confidence interval 1.37 to 5.97).
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that risk of Dupuytren’s contracture is more than doubled in men with high levels of weekly exposure to HTV.
doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101981
PMCID: PMC3963601  PMID: 24449599
8.  Musculoskeletal pain in Europe: role of personal, occupational and social risk factors 
Objectives
Prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in European countries varies considerably. We analyzed data from the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) to explore the role of personal, occupational, and social risk factors in determining the national prevalence of musculoskeletal pain.
Methods
During 2010, 43,816 subjects from 34 countries were interviewed. We analyzed the one-year prevalence of back and neck/upper limb pain. Personal risk factors studied were: sex; age; educational level; socio-economic status; housework or cooking; gardening and repairs; somatising tendency; job demand-control; six physical occupational exposures; and occupational group. Data on national socio-economic risk factors were obtained from eurostat and were available for 29 countries. We fitted Poisson regression models with random intercept on country.
Results
35,550 workers entered the main analysis. Among personal risk factors, somatising tendency was the strongest predictor of the symptoms. Major differences were observed by country with back pain more than twice as common in Portugal (63.8%) as Ireland (25.7%), and prevalence rates of neck/upper limb pain ranging from 26.6% in Ireland to 67.7% in Finland. Adjustment by personal risk factors slightly reduced the large variation of prevalence between countries. For back pain, the rates were more homogenous after adjustment for social risk factors.
Conclusions
Our analysis indicates substantial variation between European countries in the prevalence of back and neck/upper limb pain. This variation is unexplained by established individual risk factors. It may be attributable in part to socio-economic differences between countries, with higher prevalence where there is less poverty and more social support.
doi:10.5271/sjweh.3381
PMCID: PMC3964819  PMID: 24009006
back pain; neck pain; upper limb pain; occupational exposures; risk factors; cross-sectional studies; population characteristics
9.  Individual and work-related risk factors for musculoskeletal pain: a cross-sectional study among Estonian computer users 
Background
Occupational use of computers has increased rapidly over recent decades, and has been linked with various musculoskeletal disorders, which are now the most commonly diagnosed occupational diseases in Estonia. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) by anatomical region during the past 12 months and to investigate its association with personal characteristics and work-related risk factors among Estonian office workers using computers.
Methods
In a cross-sectional survey, the questionnaires were sent to the 415 computer users. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaire from 202 computer users at two universities in Estonia. The questionnaire asked about MSP at different anatomical sites, and potential individual and work related risk factors. Associations with risk factors were assessed by logistic regression.
Results
Most respondents (77%) reported MSP in at least one anatomical region during the past 12 months. Most prevalent was pain in the neck (51%), followed by low back pain (42%), wrist/hand pain (35%) and shoulder pain (30%). Older age, right-handedness, not currently smoking, emotional exhaustion, belief that musculoskeletal problems are commonly caused by work, and low job security were the statistically significant risk factors for MSP in different anatomical sites.
Conclusions
A high prevalence of MSP in the neck, low back, wrist/arm and shoulder was observed among Estonian computer users. Psychosocial risk factors were broadly consistent with those reported from elsewhere. While computer users should be aware of ergonomic techniques that can make their work easier and more comfortable, presenting computer use as a serious health hazard may modify health beliefs in a way that is unhelpful.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-181
PMCID: PMC4049436  PMID: 24884911
Computer workers; Musculoskeletal pain; Risk factors; CUPID study
10.  Health beliefs, low mood, and somatizing tendency: contribution to incidence and persistence of musculoskeletal pain with and without reported disability 
Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health  2013;39(6):10.5271/sjweh.3377.
Objective
This study aims to investigate whether associations of psychological risk factors with the incidence and persistence of disabling musculoskeletal pain differ from those for non-disabling musculoskeletal pain.
Methods
As part of the international Cultural and Psychosocial Influences in Disability (CUPID) study, 1105 Spanish nurses and office workers were asked at baseline about health beliefs concerning pain, mental health, and somatizing tendency. Musculoskeletal pain in the past months at ten anatomical sites (back, neck, and left and right shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, and knee) was ascertained at baseline and one year later. Pain was classed as disabling if it made one or more specified everyday activities difficult or impossible. Multilevel multinomial logistic regression modeling was used to explore associations of baseline risk factors with pain outcomes at follow-up, conditioned on pain status at baseline.
Results
A total of 971 participants (87.9%) completed follow-up. Among anatomical sites that were pain-free at baseline, the development of disabling musculoskeletal pain was predicted by pessimistic beliefs about pain prognosis [odds ratio (OR) 1.5, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0–2.1], poor mental health (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3–3.0), and somatizing tendency (OR 4.0, 95% CI 2.5–6.4). Adverse beliefs about prognosis were also associated with the transition from non-disabling to disabling musculoskeletal pain (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.1–12.5) and the persistence of disabling musculoskeletal pain (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2–5.5), which was already present at baseline. Associations with non-disabling musculoskeletal pain were weaker and less consistent.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that established psychological risk factors relate principally to the disability that arises from musculoskeletal pain.
doi:10.5271/sjweh.3377
PMCID: PMC3819230  PMID: 23955508
case definition; longitudinal study; musculoskeletal symptom; psychological risk factor
11.  Maintained physical activity and physiotherapy in the management of distal upper limb pain – a protocol for a randomised controlled trial (the arm pain trial) 
Background
Distal upper limb pain (pain affecting the elbow, forearm, wrist, or hand) can be non-specific, or can arise from specific musculoskeletal disorders. It is clinically important and costly, the best approach to clinical management is unclear. Physiotherapy is the standard treatment and, while awaiting treatment, advice is often given to rest and avoid strenuous activities, but there is no evidence base to support these strategies. This paper describes the protocol of a randomised controlled trial to determine, among patients awaiting physiotherapy for distal arm pain, (a) whether advice to remain active and maintain usual activities results in a long-term reduction in arm pain and disability, compared with advice to rest; and (b) whether immediate physiotherapy results in a long-term reduction in arm pain and disability, compared with physiotherapy delivered after a seven week waiting list period.
Methods/Design
Between January 2012 and January 2014, new referrals to 14 out-patient physiotherapy departments were screened for potential eligibility. Eligible and consenting patients were randomly allocated to one of the following three groups in equal numbers: 1) advice to remain active, 2) advice to rest, 3) immediate physiotherapy. Patients were and followed up at 6, 13, and 26 weeks post-randomisation by self-complete postal questionnaire and, at six weeks, patients who had not received physiotherapy were offered it at this time. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients free of disability at 26 weeks, as determined by the modified DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) questionnaire.
We hypothesise (a) that advice to maintain usual activities while awaiting physiotherapy will be superior than advice to rest the arm; and (b) that fast-track physiotherapy will be superior to normal (waiting list) physiotherapy. These hypotheses will be examined using an intention-to-treat analysis.
Discussion
Results from this trial will contribute to the evidence base underpinning the clinical management of patients with distal upper limb pain, and in particular, will provide guidance on whether they should be advised to rest the arm or remain active within the limits imposed by their symptoms.
Trial registration
Registered on http://www.controlled-trials.com (reference number: ISRCTN79085082).
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-71
PMCID: PMC3975277  PMID: 24612447
Randomised controlled trial; Arm pain; Physiotherapy; Advice; Rest; Active; Pain management
12.  INTERNATIONAL VARIATION IN MUSCULOSKELETAL SICKNESS ABSENCE: FINDINGS FROM THE CUPID STUDY 
Objectives
To quantify the variation in rates of absence for musculoskeletal pain across 47 occupational groups (mostly nurses and office workers) from 18 countries, and to explore personal and group-level risk factors that might explain observed differences.
Methods
A standardised questionnaire was used to obtain information about musculoskeletal pain, sickness absence and possible risk factors in a cross-sectional survey of 12,416 workers (92 to 1017 per occupational group). In addition, group-level data on socioeconomic variables such as sick pay and unemployment rates were assembled by members of the study team in each country. Associations of sickness absence with risk factors were examined by Poisson regression.
Results
Overall, there were more than 30-fold differences between occupational groups in the 12-month prevalence of prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence, and even among office workers carrying out similar occupational tasks, the variation was more than ten-fold. Personal risk factors included older age, lower educational level, tendency to somatise, physical loading at work and prolonged absence for non-musculoskeletal illness. However, these explained little of the variation between occupational groups. After adjustment for individual characteristics, prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence was more frequent in groups with greater time pressure at work, lower job control, and more adverse beliefs about the work-relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders.
Conclusions
Musculoskeletal sickness absence might be reduced by eliminating excessive time pressures in work, maximising employees’ responsibility and control, and providing flexibility of duties for those with disabling symptoms. Care should be taken not to overstate work as a cause of musculoskeletal injury.
doi:10.1136/oemed-2012-101316
PMCID: PMC3710073  PMID: 23695413
Sickness absence; musculoskeletal; international; risk factors; time pressure; job control
13.  Risk factors for musculoskeletal pain amongst nurses in Estonia: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Routine statistics indicate a high frequency of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Estonia. We aimed to describe the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) amongst Estonian nurses, and to explore associations with personal characteristics and occupational risk factors.
Methods
As a part of an international investigation (the Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) study), a cross-sectional survey was carried out amongst registered nurses at Tartu University Hospital, focusing on pain at six anatomical sites (low back, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand and knee) lasting for more than a day during the past year and past month. Associations with regional and multi-site (≥2 anatomical sites) pain were analysed by logistic regression.
Results
Analysis was based on 221 female nurses (response rate 57%). The overall prevalence of MSP was 84% in the past year and 69% in the past month. The prevalence of multi-site pain was 60% in the past year and 40% in the past month. Low back, neck and knee were the sites most commonly painful. Pain in the past year tended to be more frequent at older ages, and with higher emotional exhaustion, and at most sites, with poor self-rated health, and reported distress from somatic symptoms. Multi-site pain was also significantly associated with older age and tendency to somatise.
Conclusions
The prevalence of MSP among Estonian nurses is high. Psychological risk factors such as somatising tendency have an important impact. However, none of the risk factors examined seems likely to explain the high frequency of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Estonia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-334
PMCID: PMC4219579  PMID: 24289649
14.  Evaluation of a case management service to reduce sickness absence 
Background
It is unclear whether and to what extent intensive case management is more effective than standard occupational health services in reducing sickness absence in the healthcare sector.
Aims
To evaluate a new return to work service at an English hospital trust.
Methods
The new service entailed intensive case management for staff who had been absent sick for longer than four weeks, aiming to restore function through a goal-directed and enabling approach based on a bio-psycho-social model. Assessment of the intervention was by controlled before and after comparison with a neighbouring hospital trust at which there were no major changes in the management of sickness absence. Data on outcome measures were abstracted from electronic databases held by the two trusts.
Results
At the intervention trust, the proportion of 4-week absences which continued beyond 8 weeks fell from 51.7% in 2008 to 49.1% in 2009 and 45.9% in 2010. The reduction from 2008 to 2010 contrasted with an increase at the control trust from 51.2% to 56.1% – a difference in change of 10.7% (95%CI 1.5% to 20.0%). There was also a differential improvement in mean days of absence beyond four weeks, but this was not statistically significant (1.6 days per absence, 95%CI −7.2 to 10.3 days).
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that the intervention was effective, and calculations based on an annual running cost of £57,000 suggest that it was also cost-effective. A similar intervention should now be evaluated at a larger number of hospital trusts.
doi:10.1093/occmed/kqs223
PMCID: PMC3633198  PMID: 23365116
Sickness absence; case management; intervention; evaluation; cost-effectiveness; healthcare
15.  PATTERNS OF MULTI-SITE PAIN AND ASSOCIATIONS WITH RISK FACTORS 
Pain  2013;154(9):1769-1777.
To explore definitions for multi-site pain, and compare associations with risk factors for different patterns of musculoskeletal pain, we analysed cross-sectional data from the Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) study. The study sample comprised 12,410 adults aged 20-59 years from 47 occupational groups in 18 countries. A standardised questionnaire was used to collect information about pain in the past month at each of 10 anatomical sites, and about potential risk factors. Associations with pain outcomes were assessed by Poisson regression, and characterised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs). Extensive pain, affecting 6-10 anatomical sites, was reported much more frequently than would be expected if the occurrence of pain at each site were independent (674 participants v 41.9 expected). In comparison with pain involving only 1-3 sites, it showed much stronger associations (relative to no pain) with risk factors such as female sex (PRR 1.6 v 1.1), older age (PRR 2.6 v 1.1), somatising tendency (PRR 4.6 v 1.3) and exposure to multiple physically stressing occupational activities (PRR 5.0 v 1.4). After adjustment for number of sites with pain, these risk factors showed no additional association with a distribution of pain that was widespread according to the frequently used American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Our analysis supports the classification of pain at multiple anatomical sites simply by the number of sites affected, and suggests that extensive pain differs importantly in its associations with risk factors from pain that is limited to only a small number of anatomical sites.
doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.05.039
PMCID: PMC3747979  PMID: 23727463
16.  Patterns of multisite pain and associations with risk factors 
Pain  2013;154(9):1769-1777.
Summary
In a large cross-sectional survey, pain affecting 6–10 anatomical sites showed substantially different associations with risk factors from pain limited to 1–3 sites.
To explore definitions for multisite pain, and compare associations with risk factors for different patterns of musculoskeletal pain, we analysed cross-sectional data from the Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) study. The study sample comprised 12,410 adults aged 20–59 years from 47 occupational groups in 18 countries. A standardised questionnaire was used to collect information about pain in the past month at each of 10 anatomical sites, and about potential risk factors. Associations with pain outcomes were assessed by Poisson regression, and characterised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs). Extensive pain, affecting 6–10 anatomical sites, was reported much more frequently than would be expected if the occurrence of pain at each site were independent (674 participants vs 41.9 expected). In comparison with pain involving only 1–3 sites, it showed much stronger associations (relative to no pain) with risk factors such as female sex (PRR 1.6 vs 1.1), older age (PRR 2.6 vs 1.1), somatising tendency (PRR 4.6 vs 1.3), and exposure to multiple physically stressing occupational activities (PRR 5.0 vs 1.4). After adjustment for number of sites with pain, these risk factors showed no additional association with a distribution of pain that was widespread according to the frequently used American College of Rheumatology criteria. Our analysis supports the classification of pain at multiple anatomical sites simply by the number of sites affected, and suggests that extensive pain differs importantly in its associations with risk factors from pain that is limited to only a small number of anatomical sites.
doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.05.039
PMCID: PMC3747979  PMID: 23727463
Pain; Multisite; Widespread; Definition; Risk factors
17.  Differences in risk factors for neurophysiologically confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome and illness with similar symptoms but normal median nerve function: a case–control study 
Background
To explore whether risk factors for neurophysiologically confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) differ from those for sensory symptoms with normal median nerve conduction, and to test the validity and practical utility of a proposed definition for impaired median nerve conduction, we carried out a case–control study of patients referred for investigation of suspected CTS.
Methods
We compared 475 patients with neurophysiological abnormality (NP+ve) according to the definition, 409 patients investigated for CTS but classed as negative on neurophysiological testing (NP-ve), and 799 controls. Exposures to risk factors were ascertained by self-administered questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated by logistic regression.
Results
NP+ve disease was associated with obesity, use of vibratory tools, repetitive movement of the wrist or fingers, poor mental health and workplace psychosocial stressors. NP-ve illness was also related to poor mental health and occupational psychosocial stressors, but differed from NP+ve disease in showing associations also with prolonged use of computer keyboards and tendency to somatise, and no relation to obesity. In direct comparison of NP+ve and NP-ve patients (the latter being taken as the reference category), the most notable differences were for obesity (OR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.9-3.9), somatising tendency (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-0.9), diabetes (OR 1.6, 95% CI 0.9-3.1) and work with vibratory tools (OR 1.4, 95% CI 0.9-2.2).
Conclusions
When viewed in the context of earlier research, our findings suggest that obesity, diabetes, use of hand-held vibratory tools, and repeated forceful movements of the wrist and hand are causes of impaired median nerve function. In addition, sensory symptoms in the hand, whether from identifiable pathology or non-specific in origin, may be rendered more prominent and distressing by hand activity, low mood, tendency to somatise, and psychosocial stressors at work. These differences in associations with risk factors support the validity of our definition of impaired median nerve conduction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-240
PMCID: PMC3765327  PMID: 23947720
Carpal tunnel syndrome; Nerve conduction; Case–control; Obesity; Vibration; Occupation; Psychosocial; Somatising tendency; Upper limb disorders
18.  Impact of carpal tunnel surgery according to pre-operative abnormality of sensory conduction in median nerve: a longitudinal study 
Background
We have previously proposed that sensory nerve conduction (SNC) in the median nerve should be classed as abnormal when the difference between conduction velocities in the little and index fingers is > 8 m/s. In a prospective longitudinal study, we investigated whether this case definition distinguished patients who were more likely to benefit from surgical treatment.
Methods
We followed up 394 patients (response rate 56%), who were investigated by a neurophysiology service for suspected carpal tunnel syndrome. Information about symptoms, treatment and other possible determinants of outcome was obtained through questionnaires at baseline and after follow-up for a mean of 19.2 months. Analysis focused on 656 hands with numbness, tingling or pain at baseline. Associations of surgical treatment with resolution of symptoms were assessed by Poisson regression, and summarised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs) and associated 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
Results
During follow-up, 154 hands (23%) were treated surgically, and sensory symptoms resolved in 241 hands (37%). In hands with abnormal median SNC, surgery was associated with resolution of numbness, tingling and pain (PRR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.2), and of numbness and tingling specifically (PRR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.6). In contrast, no association was apparent for either outcome when median SNC was classed as normal.
Conclusions
Our definition of abnormal median SNC distinguished a subset of patients who appeared to benefit from surgical treatment. This predictive capacity gives further support to its validity as a diagnostic criterion in epidemiological research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-241
PMCID: PMC3765505  PMID: 23947746
Carpal tunnel syndrome; Neurophysiology; Case definition; Validity; Surgery; Outcome
19.  Symptoms, signs and nerve conduction velocities in patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome 
Background
To inform the clinical management of patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and case definition for CTS in epidemiological research, we explored the relation of symptoms and signs to sensory nerve conduction (SNC) measurements.
Methods
Patients aged 20–64 years who were referred to a neurophysiology service for investigation of suspected CTS, completed a symptom questionnaire (including hand diagrams) and physical examination (including Tinel’s and Phalen’s tests). Differences in SNC velocity between the little and index finger were compared according to the anatomical distribution of symptoms in the hand and findings on physical examination.
Results
Analysis was based on 1806 hands in 908 patients (response rate 73%). In hands with numbness or tingling but negative on both Tinel’s and Phalen’s tests, the mean difference in SNC velocities was no higher than in hands with no numbness or tingling. The largest differences in SNC velocities occurred in hands with extensive numbness or tingling in the median nerve sensory distribution and both Tinel’s and Phalen’s tests positive (mean 13.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 12.6-15.0 m/s). Hand pain and thumb weakness were unrelated to SNC velocity.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that in the absence of other objective evidence of median nerve dysfunction, there is little value in referring patients of working age with suspected CTS for nerve conduction studies if they are negative on both Tinel’s and Phalen’s tests. Alternative case definitions for CTS in epidemiological research are proposed according to the extent of diagnostic information available and the relative importance of sensitivity and specificity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-242
PMCID: PMC3765787  PMID: 23947775
Epidemiology; Evidence-based medicine; Hand; Nerve compression syndromes; Wrist
20.  Translation, Adaptation and Validation of the “Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) Questionnaire” for Use in Brazil 
The paper describes the adaptation and testing of the Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability Questionnaire for use in Portuguese. The cross-cultural adaptation followed the steps of translation, back-translation, evaluation of the translations by a committee of judges, and then piloting of the pre-final version. This was performed in a sample of 40 nursing staff from the Hospital at the University of São Paulo. Adjustments were made after review of the translations by the committee of judges (CVI≤ 80%). The pilot study was used to test whether questions could be satisfactorily understood and completed (≥ 85% of subjects). The Brazilian version of the Questionnaire is an adequate instrument for the ascertainment of occupational activities, psychosocial aspects of work, musculoskeletal symptoms and associated disabilities in nursing staff.
PMCID: PMC3725703  PMID: 21340273
Translations; Validation Studies; Occupational Health; Cumulative Trauma Disorders
21.  Incidence rates of surgically treated rhegmatogenous retinal detachment among manual workers, non-manual workers and housewives in Tuscany, Italy 
Purpose
Candidate risk factors for idiopathic rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) include heavy manual handling (requiring Valsalva’s maneuver). We assessed incidence rates of surgically treated idiopathic RRD among manual workers, non-manual workers and housewives resident in Tuscany, Italy.
Methods
We retrieved all hospital discharge records bearing a principal diagnosis corresponding to RRD coupled with retinal surgery for any resident of Tuscany during 1997–2009. After elimination of repeated admissions and patients with coexistent, associated conditions (including recent trauma), subjects aged 25–59 years were classified as manual workers, non-manual workers or housewives. Population data were extracted from the 2001 census.
Results
We identified 1,946 eligible cases (1,142 men). Among men, manual workers experienced a 1.8-fold higher age-standardized rate per 100,000 person-years than non-manual workers [17.4 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 16.1–18.7) vs. 9.8 (95 % CI 8.8–10.8)]. Age-standardized rates among women were 1.9-fold higher for manual workers [11.1 (95 % CI 9.8–12.3)] and 1.7-fold higher for housewives [9.5 (95 % CI 8.3–10.8)] than in non-manual workers [5.7 (95 % CI 4.8–6.6)].
Conclusions
This large population-based study suggests that manual workers are affected by idiopathic RRD requiring surgical treatment more often than non-manual workers. The higher rates of surgically treated RRD experienced by manual workers are in accord with the hypothesis that heavy manual handling may have a causal role.
doi:10.1007/s00420-013-0894-5
PMCID: PMC3855483  PMID: 23893253
Manual work; Retinal surgery; Patient discharge; Incidence study
22.  Body mass index, occupational activity, and leisure-time physical activity: an exploration of risk factors and modifiers for knee osteoarthritis in the 1946 British birth cohort 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (kOA) risk is increased by obesity and physical activities (PA) which mechanically stress the joint. We examined the associations of midlife kOA with body mass index (BMI) and activity exposure across adult life and their interaction.
Methods
Data are from a UK birth cohort of 2597 participants with a clinical assessment for kOA at age 53. At ages 36, 43 and 53 BMI (kg/m2), self-reported leisure-time PA, and occupational activity (kneeling/squatting; lifting; climbing; sitting; assigned using a job-exposure matrix) were ascertained. Associations were explored using the multiplicative logistic model.
Results
BMI was strongly and positively associated with kOA in men and women. Men and women in manual occupations also had greater odds of kOA; there was a weak suggestion that kOA risk was higher among men exposed to lifting or kneeling at work. For men, the only evidence of a multiplicative interaction between BMI and activities was for lifting (p = 0.01) at age 43; BMI conferred higher kOA risk among those most-likely to lift at work (OR per increase in BMI z-score: 3.55, 95% CI: 1.72-7.33). For women, the only evidence of an interaction was between BMI and leisure-time PA (p = 0.005) at age 43; BMI conferred higher kOA risk among those at higher PA levels (OR per increase in BMI z-score: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.26-2.00 in inactive; 1.70, 95% CI: 1.14-2.55 (less-active); and 4.44; 95% CI: 2.26-8.36 (most-active).
Conclusions
At the very least, our study suggests that more active individuals (at work and in leisure) may see a greater reduction in risk of kOA from avoiding a high BMI than those less active.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-219
PMCID: PMC3726290  PMID: 23883324
Knee osteoarthritis; Body mass index; Physical activity; Occupational activity
23.  RISK FACTORS FOR NEW ONSET AND PERSISTENCE OF MULTI-SITE MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN IN A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF WORKERS IN CRETE 
Objectives
To explore occupational and psychological risk factors for the incidence and persistence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain.
Methods
We conducted a longitudinal investigation of three occupational groups in Crete, Greece. Baseline information was obtained at interview about pain in the past year at each of six anatomical sites, and about possible risk factors for subsequent symptoms. Twelve months later, subjects were re-interviewed about pain at the same anatomical sites in the past month. Pain at two or more sites was classed as multi-site. Associations with new development and persistence of multi-site pain at follow-up were assessed by logistic regression.
Results
Analysis was based on 518 subjects (87% of those originally selected for study). At follow-up, multi-site pain persisted in 217 (62%) of those who had experienced it in the year before baseline, and was newly developed in 27 (17%) of those who had not. Persistence of multi-site pain was significantly related to physical loading at work, somatising tendency and beliefs about work as a cause of musculoskeletal pain, with ORs (95%CIs) for the highest relative to the lowest exposure categories of 2.3 (1.0-5.6), 2.6 (1.5-4.6) and 1.9 (1.1-3.3) respectively. Development of new multi-site pain was most strongly associated with working for ≥ 40 hours per week (OR 5.0, 95%CI 1.1-24.0).
Conclusions
Our findings confirm the importance of both physical loading at work and somatising tendency as risk factors for multi-site pain, and suggest that persistence of pain is also influenced by adverse beliefs about work-causation.
doi:10.1136/oemed-2012-100689
PMCID: PMC3526653  PMID: 22864252
24.  Psychological and culturally-influenced risk factors for the incidence and persistence of low back pain and associated disability in Spanish workers: findings from the CUPID study 
Objective
To assess the importance of psychological and culturally-influenced factors as predictors of incidence and persistence of LBP in a Spanish working population.
Methods
As part of the international CUPID study, 1105 Spanish nurses and office workers, aged 20-59 years, answered questions at baseline about LBP in the past month and past year, associated disability, occupational lifting, smoking habits, health beliefs, mental health, and distress from common somatic symptoms. At follow-up 12 months later, they were asked again about LBP and associated disability in the past month. Associations with the incidence and persistence of LBP were assessed by log binomial regression, and characterised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs) with associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results
971 participants (87.9%) completed follow-up. Among 579 with no LBP at baseline, 22.8% reported LBP at follow-up. After adjustment for sex, age and occupation, development of new LBP was predicted by poor mental health (PRR 1.5, 95%CI 1.0-2.2), somatising tendency (PRR 1.8, 95%CI 1.2-2.7), and presence of LBP for >1 month in the year before baseline (PRR 4.7, 95%CI 3.1-6.9). Among 392 subjects who had LBP at baseline, 59.4% reported persistence at follow-up. Persistence of LBP was associated with presence of symptoms for >1 month in the 12 months before baseline (PRR 1.4, 95%CI 1.2-1.7), and more weakly with somatising tendency, and with adverse beliefs about the work-relatedness and prognosis of LBP
Conclusion
In Spain, as in northern European countries, psychological and culturally-influenced factors have an important role in the development and persistence of LBP.
doi:10.1136/oemed-2011-100637
PMCID: PMC3526654  PMID: 22864247
low back pain; health beliefs; mental health; somatising tendency
25.  HOW COMMON IS RSI? 
Objective
Statistics from Labour Force Surveys are widely quoted as evidence for the scale of occupational illness in Europe. However, occupational attribution depends on whether participants believe their health problem is caused or aggravated by work, and personal beliefs may be unreliable. We assessed the potential for error for work-associated arm pain.
Methods
We mailed a questionnaire to working-aged adults, randomly chosen from five British general practices. We asked about: occupational activities; mental health; self-rated health; arm pain; and beliefs about its causation. Those in work (n = 1769) were asked about activities likely to cause arm pain, from which we derived a variable for exposure to any ‘arm-straining’ occupational activity. We estimated the relative risk (RR) from arm-straining activity, using a modified Cox model, and derived the population attributable fraction (PAF). We compared the proportion of arm pain cases reporting their symptom as caused or made worse by work with the calculated PAF, overall and for subsets defined by demographic and other characteristics.
Results
Arm pain in the past year was more common in the 1,143 subjects who reported exposure to arm-straining occupational activity (RR 1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 1.5). In the study sample as a whole, 53.9% of 817 cases reported their arm pain as work-associated, whereas the PAF for arm-straining occupational activity was only 13.9%. The ratio of cases reported as work-related to the calculated attributable number was substantially higher below 50 years (5.4) than at older ages (3.0) and higher in those with worse self-rated and mental health.
Conclusions
Counting people with arm pain which they believe to be work-related can overestimate the number of cases attributable to work substantially. This casts doubt on the validity of a major source of information used by European Governments to evaluate their occupational health strategies.
doi:10.1136/oem.2007.035378
PMCID: PMC3689197  PMID: 18056747

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