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Neurobehavioral testing in monitoring hazardous workplace exposures.

Baker EL; Letz R
J Occup Med 1986 Oct; 28(10):987-990
Neurobehavioral testing for evaluating the health effects of occupational exposures to toxic chemicals is reviewed. Uses of neurobehavioral testing in the workplace are listed. It is suggested that employment of neurobehavioral testing is most appropriate in situations where defined chemical exposures are present and some effort to quantify their intensity is made simultaneously with functional assessment. In a typical survey, groups of exposed workers are tested and compared with unexposed populations tested by the same methodology. The most desirable circumstance is to test workers prior to exposure and to follow them prospectively with periodic testing. Conditions favorable to use of neurobehavioral testing in screening programs are listed. In addition to specifying exposure conditions, health conditions of interest should also be specified. Three syndromes of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction are described: transient CNS depression, neurasthenic syndrome, and toxic encephalopathy. Selection of neurobehavioral techniques to evaluate the population of interest is discussed. Neurobehavioral test batteries for monitoring occupation groups are listed. Characteristics of existing neurobehavioral tests of relevance to screening programs are given. Neurobehavioral Evaluation System computer administered and World Health Organization core tests and their functional domains are listed. Advantages of a computer administered system are described. The authors conclude that neurobehavioral testing holds clear promise for monitoring populations occupationally exposed to hazardous substances. As a tool for epidemiological studies and as a detection technique in ongoing surveillance programs, standardized neurobehavioral testing provides an important means of monitoring CNS function.
JOCMA7; Occupational-health; Behavioral-testing; Occupational-health-programs; Central-nervous-system; Nervous-system-disorders; Occupational-medicine; Medical-monitoring; Medical-examinations; Medical-screening; Behavioral-tests; NIOSH-Author
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Journal Article
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Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division