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Vibration syndrome in chipping and grinding workers. Aesthesiometry.

Carlson-W; Smith-R; Taylor-W
Journal of Occupational Medicine, Supplement 1984 Oct; 26(10):776-780
Use of aesthesiometric instruments to examine tactile depth perception and two point discrimination in chipping workers subject to vibration syndrome was investigated. Both instruments were made of acrylic plastic. The first had a split surface, marked in 0.1 millimeter (mm) gradations; half of the split surface sloped, allowing measurement of depth perception to a maximum differential between surfaces of 1.5mm. The second instrument had a 5mm deep, wedge shaped channel which spread progressively allowing measurement of perception of this spread. These perceptions were measured in 221 chipping and grinding workers who were divided by the degree of development of vibration syndrome from those with no symptoms to those with severe blanching of their fingers. Results were compared with those from workers not exposed to vibration. For two point perception the mean point at which comparisons perceived widening was at 4.65mm. This distance decreased linearly with development of symptoms in workers. Workers with no symptoms perceived widening at 5.24mm, those with tingling and numbness at 5.93mm, and those with the greatest blanching at 6.69mm. For depth sense perception, comparisons perceived depth of the instrument groove at 1.16mm, asymptomatic workers at 1.32mm, those with tingling and numbness at 1.5mm, and those with the greatest blanching at 1.56mm. In this test, however, results were similar for workers with tingling and numbness, and any of the three stages of blanching. The authors conclude that testing with these instruments can be used to confirm a diagnosis of advanced stages of vibration syndrome. However, false positives and false negatives can occur, suggesting that the results of these tests should never be substituted for the judgement of the physician.
NIOSH-Author; Vibration-pickups; Occupations; Vibration-control; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-exposure; Workers; Vibration-effects; Vibration-monitors; Vibration-disease; Vibration-exposure; Quantitative-analysis;
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Journal of Occupational Medicine, Supplement