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Influence of body mass index and work activity on the prevalence of median mononeuropathy at the wrist.

Werner RA; Franzblau A; Albers JW; Armstrong TJ
Occup Environ Med 1997 Apr; 54(4):268-271
Obesity and work activity as risk factors for median mononeuropathy (MMN) at the wrist were examined. The study group consisted of 527 workers, 61% of whom were female, mean age 34 years, selected from five different worksites in the midwestern United States. There were 363 industrial workers and the remaining 164 were clerical workers. The median and ulnar sensory evoked responses of both hands were measured. A median sensory peak latency that was 0.5 (MM5) or 0.8 millisecond (MM8) longer than that of the ulnar peak sensory latency was considered to be diagnostic of MMN. The wrist dimensions and midpalmar temperatures of both hands of each subject were measured. Heights and body weights were measured, from which the body mass indices (BMIs) were computed. The prevalence of MMN among the industrial and clerical workers when the MM5 criterion was used for diagnosis was 34 and 21%, respectively. When the more conservative MM8 criterion was used, the prevalence of MMN in the two worker groups was 13 and 9%, respectively. The prevalence of obesity, defined as a BMI greater than 29 kilograms per square meter (kg/m2), was 30% in both worker groups. Obese workers had a significantly greater risk of MMN than those who were normal or slender, odds ratio (OR) 4.0 when the MM5 criterion was used and OR 7.4 when the MM8 criterion was used. Workers employed in industrial jobs had a significantly elevated risk of MMN compared to clerical workers when the MM5 criterion was used. Age was also a significant risk factor for MMN. Sex, height, palmar temperature, and the other factors were not associated with an increased risk for MMN. The authors conclude that obesity, industrial work versus clerical work, and age are significant risk factors for mononeuropathies among active workers.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Anthropometry; Body-weight; Humans; Risk-factors; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Office-workers; Industrial-factory-workers; Electrophysiological-measurements; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Hand-injuries; Vitamins; Age-factors; Ergonomics
Environmental & Indust Health the University of Michigan 1420 Washington Heights Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
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Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division