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Chronic mercury exposure examined with a computer-based tremor system.
McCullough JE; Dick RB; Rutchik J
J Occup Environ Med 2001 Mar; 43(3):295-300
Tremor is being increasingly evaluated by quantitative computer-based systems to differentiate its causes. In this study, a group of mercury-exposed workers were assessed to determine whether tremor characteristics differed by exposure level. Workers were classified into two groups: those with an average urine mercury concentration below the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist Biological Exposure Index of 35 micrograms/g creatinine, and those with an average urine mercury concentration above the Biological Exposure Index. Tremor characteristics (including intensity, harmonic index, center frequency, standard deviation of the center frequency, and tremor index) were measured and recorded with a computer-based tremor system. Sixteen of 17 workers who were potentially exposed to mercury participated in the study. Three workers had a mean urine mercury concentration of 27.0 micrograms/g-creatinine and were assigned to the low-exposure group, and 13 workers had a mean urine mercury concentration of 200.2 micrograms/g-creatinine and were assigned to the high-exposure group. There was a statistically significant difference in the tremor index (which compiles five individual tremor parameters into a single value) between the two groups (P = 0.04; Wilcoxon's rank sum test). Other tremor characteristics did not differ significantly between the groups. Tremor index may be more useful than measures of individual tremor parameters in differentiating normal from subclinical pathological tremors among groups of workers with chronic mercury exposure.
Chronic-exposure; Mercury-compounds; Quantitative-analysis; Exposure-levels; Workplace-studies; Central-nervous-system-disorders; Neuromotor-disorders; Neuromotor-system; Neuromuscular-system; Neuromuscular-system-disorders; Nervous-system; Nervous-system-disorders; Neurotoxic-effects; Neurotoxins
Dr. Joel McCollough, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Mailstop R-10, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division