Application of metrics constructed from vibrotactile thresholds to the assessment of tactile sensory changes in the hands.
Brammer-AJ; Sutinen-P; Diva-UA; Pyykkö-I; Toppila-E; Starck-J
J Acoust Soc Am 2007 Dec; 122(6):3732-3742
Two tools for assessing tactile sensory disturbances in the hands have been constructed from mechanoreceptor-specific vibrotactile threshold shifts, and thresholds changes with time, and employed in a prospective study of forest workers. Statistically significant positive threshold shifts (i.e., reductions in sensitivity compared to the hands of healthy persons) were found in five hands at study inception (13.9%), and 15 hands at follow-up (41.7%). Four patterns of threshold shift could be identified, involving selectively the median and/or ulnar nerve pathways and/or end organs. Statistically significant positive threshold changes (i.e., reductions in sensitivity with time) were recorded in 69.4% of the hands over a five-year period, even though a majority of the workers remained symptom free. If the thresholds recorded from subjects not working with power tools are used to control for aging, lifestyle, and environmental factors during the five year period, then 40% of the remaining subjects are found to be experiencing work-related threshold changes in their hands. The ability of the threshold shift metric to predict the numbness reported by these subjects shows that it is closely associated with the tactile sensory changes occurring in their hands.
Analytical-processes; Vibration-disease; Vibration-exposure; Forestry-workers; Forestry; Humans
A. J. Brammer, Ergonomic Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030-2017
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine