[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medical history and relationship to the medical conditions as well as to the music creativity and productivity of some of the classical European composers have been described. In this review article we analyzed their illnesses as well as association between physical or mental diseases and their creativity and adaptability to disease. Some classical composers suffered from organic diseases, while others complained of mental disturbances. However, in spite of their disorders, the intensity of their creativity mostly remained unchanged.
Collegium antropologicum 12/2011; 35(4):1327-31. · 0.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Occupational exposure to oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) has been associated with obstructive lung disease. Previously, we studied an extract of oyster mushroom (OME) and determined that it causes dose-dependent contractions of nonsensitized guinea pig trachea (GPT). We extend these studies to the investigation of sensitized tissue. In the present study 24 animals were sensitized using ovalbumin (OA) and subsequently challenged with an aerosol of 2.5% OA. A control group of 12 nonsensitized GPs was also studied. Tracheas were removed and were divided into rings in which the epithelium was retained (EP+) or removed (EP-). Dose-related contractions of sensitized and nonsensitized GPTs were elicited with OME. In nonsensitized animals the EP+ GPTs demonstrated a significantly greater response to OME (100-1000 μl) than did the EP- GPTs (p < 0.01). By contrast, in sensitized GPTs with and without epithelium there was no difference to challenge with OME. Finally, sensitized GPTs with and without epithelium and nonsensitized GPTs with epithelium responded similarly to challenge with OME. These findings suggest that in nonsensitized animals there is an enhancement of contractile response to OME which is in part mediated by the GPT epithelium. In sensitized animals with or without epithelium, the level of bronchoconstrictor response is similar to that of the nonsensitized animals with epithelium, suggesting an enhanced constrictor response independent of epithelium in the sensitized animals.
Beiträge zur Klinik der Tuberkulose 06/2011; 189(4):305-10. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this review we describe characteristics of occupational airway diseases, as well as physical and chemical characteristics of agents inducing airway disease. Occupational airway diseases include industrial bronchitis, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, bronchiolitis obliterans, and occupational asthma. High- and low-molecular weight substances associated with occupational airway disease are listed. The importance of host factors is stressed. Diagnostic approaches, particularly indicators for specific challenge testing with occupational materials, are described. Preventive and control measures are presented.
Reviews on environmental health 01/2011; 16(2):87-95.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aged population dominates in developed countries. Centenarians are a select group, and only one in 7,000 to 10,000 reach that age. Factors of longevity are numerous and include genetic predisposition (a locus on chromosome 4), environment, healthy lifestyle (hypocaloric diet, regular physical and mental exercise), accessible health services, and efficient health protection at old age. Centenarians are well adapted to the new life and compensate for the loss of functions with age. The limits of human life are extended, so that nowadays the oldest person has reached the age of 128. Some geographic areas are characterised by higher numbers of centenarians. This article mentions a few individuals who outlived 100 years in the world, Croatia, and neighbouring countries. Although some argue that the limits of human life cannot be extended over the age of 120 years, for now we cannot predict the actual limits of human life.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 09/2009; 60(3):375-86. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess to which extent modernisation of an aluminium production complex reduced occupational noise hazard for jobs with the highest potential of exposure. Periodical measurements of noise level were taken at the same workplaces using the same method, before and after modernisation of all plants. The results were compared with the recommended standard. After modernisation, the noise was significantly reduced in all sections of all plants. The greatest reduction was measured in the foundry. After modernisation, the portion of workplaces with excessive noise level dropped significantly (chisquare=21.315; p<0.0001) from 78.4% to 13%. Noise remained a problem in ingot casting and dross skimming section. In the anode plant, noise remained a problem in the green mill section where noise intensities generated by mills and vibrocompactors varied from 95 dB(A) to 102 dB(A). In the electrolysis plant, the portion of workplaces with extensive noise dropped from 77.8% to 39.3% after modernisation (p=0.0019). Noise remains to be a problem at the anode covering section where levels rise up to 100 dB(A). The modernisation of the factory has considerably reduced the noise level in the working environment of all plants, but it can not be reduced completely.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 09/2009; 60(3):343-8. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gender related differences in respiratory disease have been documented. The aim of this study was to investigate gender related differences in respiratory findings by occupation. We analyzed data from 12 of our previously published studies.
Three thousand and eleven (3011) workers employed in "organic dust" industries (1379 female and 1632 male) were studied. A control group of 806 workers not exposed to any kind of dust were also investigated (male = 419, female = 387). Acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function were measured. The weighted average method and the Mantel-Haentszel method were used to calculate the odds ratios of symptoms. Hedge's unbiased estimations were used to measure lung function differences between men and women.
There were high prevalences of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms in all the "dusty" studied groups compared to controls. Significantly less chronic cough, chronic phlegm as well as chronic bronchitis were found among women than among men after the adjustments for smoking, age and duration of employment. Upper respiratory tract symptoms by contrast were more frequent in women than in men in these groups. Significant gender related lung function differences occurred in the textile industry but not in the food processing industry or among farmers.
The results of this study suggest that in industries processing organic compounds there are gender differences in respiratory symptoms and lung function in exposed workers. Whether these findings represent true physiologic gender differences, gender specific workplace exposures or other undefined gender variables not defined in this study cannot be determined. These data do not suggest that special limitations for women are warranted for respiratory health reasons in these industries, but the issue of upper respiratory irritation and disease warrants further study.
Environmental Health 02/2009; 8:1. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The playing of wind instruments has been associated with changes in respiratory function.
To investigate the effect of playing wind instruments on lung function and respiratory symptoms.
The present study included 99 wind instrument players and a group of 41 string instrument players as a control from 3 major orchestras in Zagreb, Croatia. Data on chronic respiratory symptoms were recorded in all studied subjects. Lung function was measured in wind instrument players by recording maximum expiratory flow-volume curves.
Wind instrument players demonstrated significantly higher prevalences of sinusitis, nasal catarrh and hoarseness compared to control musicians. One wind instrument player developed asthma associated with his work. Odds ratios for wind instrument players were significant for chronic cough, chronic phlegm and chronic bronchitis by smoking habit (p<0.05 or p<0.01) but not for length of employment. Ventilatory capacity data indicate that wind instrument players had significantly greater FEV1 (smokers and nonsmokers) as well as FEF50 (nonsmokers) (p<0.05) compared to predicted values. Regression analysis of pulmonary function tests in wind instrument players demonstrate a significant link between FEV1 and FEF50 and length of employment. Those wind instrument players with longer employment had the greatest increases in lung function.
Our data suggest that musicians playing wind instruments may be susceptible to chronic upper airway symptoms. Interestingly wind instrument playing may be associated with higher than expected lung function parameters.
La Medicina del lavoro 01/2009; 100(2):133-41. · 0.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study identifies equations for predicting lung function values in a population of 'healthy', nonsmoking older adults, explores the applicability of prediction equations derived from younger adult populations to the elderly, and examines the justification of developing population-specific reference equations for older age. FVC, FEV(1), and PEF were measured according to the ATS criteria in 651 ambulatory volunteers aged 65-86 years, representative for the Croatian Mediterranean population. After exclusion of eversmokers and subjects with respiratory symptoms and/or diseases, 261 asymptomatic subjects were included in the analyses. Sex-specific reference equations and lower limits of normal were derived by using a linear model with height and age as predictors. The equations for lung volumes were more reliable than those for PEF. The new FVC and FEV(1) reference equations were found to be in agreement with those generated previously from primarily young and middle-aged adults. The latter perform reasonably well when extrapolated for ages beyond 65 years. Cross-validation of reference equations existing for the elderly showed that almost all European and U.S. equations systematically overpredicted lung function parameters in the Croatian sample. The overpredictions in means ranged between 14% and 34% for FVC and between 10% and 20% for FEV(1). Differences increased towards the extremes of distribution, which rendered these equations inappropriate for our elderly subjects. They identified FVC in 25-55% of the subjects as being below the lower limit of normal. The observed discrepancies strongly support the establishment of age- and population-specific reference equations for lung function assessment in older age.
Respiratory medicine 12/2008; 103(4):621-8. · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pesticide aerosols are frequently toxic irritants associated with respiratory symptoms and lung function impairment.
A cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities in 82 workers employed in processing pesticides and in 60 control workers not exposed to irritants and employed in a soft drink bottling plant.
The prevalence of almost all chronic respiratory symptoms was greater among pesticide workers than among controls. A logistic regression analysis shows differences between men and women. There was a high prevalence of acute symptoms during the work shift in pesticide workers. The data on ventilatory capacity indicates significant reductions in all tests compared to predicted. Multivariate analysis of lung function showed differences in smoking and work exposure effects in men and women.
Our data indicate that duration of work exposure in the pesticide processing industry may be associated with the development of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function changes. These effects appear to be aggravated by smoking.
Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 12/2008; 50(11):1299-305. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Environmental disasters are common phenomena caused by human factors. Disaster episodes may be the result of climatic changes such as global warming, which can lead to floods or drought. Greenhouse gases, and especially the ozone, represent a special problem. Atmospheric pollutions are the result of fire, storm dusts, winds, acid rain, etc. Underwater earthquakes very often end in tsunami with waves of up to 30 meters. Disasters described in the territory of Croatia include atmospheric pollutions, fires, floods, and droughts. All disasters affect the health of the population, particularly of the elderly. This most often includes the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, allergic reactions, and carcinogenic effects, resulting in increased mortality.
Acta medica Croatica: c̆asopis Hravatske akademije medicinskih znanosti 08/2008; 62(3):293-9.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess to which extent the modernisation of an anode plant had reduced occupational chemical health hazards for jobs with the highest potential of exposure. Periodical measurements of dust and gases were performed at the same workplaces using the same methods, before and after modernisation. These measurements were compared with the recommended standards. Before modernisation the concentrations of total dust, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen fluoride, benzene, and phenol were above the recommended standards in 56.9 % (74/130) of the samples. After modernisation, only 12.3 % (21/171) of the samples were non-conforming. Before modernisation, workers were exposed to higher concentrations of all agents in all production sections. After modernisation, dust remained the primary pollutant in harmful concentrations in the anode baking furnace (GM=22.1 mg m-3) and in the anode rodding room (GM=22.1 mg m-3), hydrogen fluoride in the anode rodding room (GM=4.2 mg m-3), and sulphur dioxide in all production sections. As plant modernisation has not completely resolved the exposure issue, stringent compliance to safety rules and regular medical checkups are necessary.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 07/2008; 59(2):73-80. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Different aspects of medicine and/or healing in several societies are presented. In the ancient times as well as today medicine has been closely related to magic, science and religion. Various ancient societies and cultures had developed different views of medicine. It was believed that a human being has two bodies: a visible body that belongs to the earth and an invisible body of heaven. In the earliest prehistoric days, a different kind of medicine was practiced in countries such as Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, India, Tibet, China, and others. In those countries, "medicine people" practiced medicine from the magic to modern physical practices. Medicine was magical and mythological, and diseases were attributed mostly to the supernatural forces. The foundation of modern medicine can be traced back to ancient Greeks. Tibetan culture, for instance, even today, combines spiritual and practical medicine. Chinese medicine developed as a concept of yin and yang, acupuncture and acupressure, and it has even been used in the modern medicine. During medieval Europe, major universities and medical schools were established. In the ancient time, before hospitals had developed, patients were treated mostly in temples.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Volcanoes pose a threat to almost half a billion people; today there are approximately 500 active volcanoes on Earth, and every year there are 10 to 40 volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions produce hazardous effects for the environment, climate, and the health of the exposed persons, and are associated with the deterioration of social and economic conditions. Along with magma and steam (H2O), the following gases surface in the environment: carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon sulphide (CS), carbon disulfide (CS2), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), hydrogen fluoride (HF), hydrogen bromide (HBr) and various organic compounds, as well as heavy metals (mercury, lead, gold).Their unfavourable effects depend on the distance from a volcano, on magma viscosity, and on gas concentrations. The hazards closer to the volcano include pyroclastic flows, flows of mud, gases and steam, earthquakes, blasts of air, and tsunamis. Among the hazards in distant areas are the effects of toxic volcanic ashes and problems of the respiratory system, eyes and skin, as well as psychological effects, injuries, transport and communication problems, waste disposal and water supplies issues, collapse of buildings and power outage. Further effects are the deterioration of water quality, fewer periods of rain, crop damages, and the destruction of vegetation. During volcanic eruptions and their immediate aftermath, increased respiratory system morbidity has been observed as well as mortality among those affected by volcanic eruptions. Unfavourable health effects could partly be prevented by timely application of safety measures.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 01/2008; 58(4):479-86. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The grain weevil, an insect (pest) that infects grain, is a frequent contaminant of processed wheat, and its presence may
contribute to respiratory abnormalities in grain workers. We studied the in vitro effects of an extract of grain weevil (GWE)
on airway smooth muscle. Pharmacologic studies included in vitro challenge of guinea pig trachea with GWE, in parallel organ
baths, pretreated with mediator-modifying agents or a control solution. Dose-related contractions of nonsensitized guinea
pig trachea (GPT) were demonstrated using this extract. Pharmacologic studies were performed by pretreating guinea pig tracheal
tissue with drugs known to modulate smooth muscle contraction: atropine, indomethacin, pyrilamine, acivicin, NDGA, BPB, TMB8,
captopril, and capsaicin. Atropine, pyrilamine, BPB, and capsaicin significantly reduced the contractile effects of the extract
at most of the challenge doses (p < 0.01 or p < 0.05). Inhibition of GWE-induced contraction by blocking of other mediators was less complete. We suggest that GWE causes
dose-related airway smooth muscle constriction of the GPT by nonimmunologic mechanisms involving a variety of airway mediators
and possibly cholinergic receptors.
Beiträge zur Klinik der Tuberkulose 01/2008; 186(5):317-321. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Artists may be exposed to a variety of potentially noxious materials. The modern techniques they use imply exposure to environmental hazards. Occupational health was evaluated in individuals engaged in different arts such as sculpture, painting, printmaking, restoration photography, glass-work and ceramics, because of exposure to toxic chemicals in art materials, tools and methods used in their work. This evaluation demonstrated that artists sustain extensive exposure to toxic substances similar to occupational exposure of workers in different industrial settings. Hazards for artists are numerous and therefore it is important to identify the noxious materials and techniques used. Preventive measures should include basic safety, precautions, education and preventive medical surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcoholism is a growing medical and public health issue both in adult and in younger populations. It is a multi-aetiological phenomenon influenced by genetic, psychological, cultural and other factors. Alcoholic beverages have traditionally been prepared from various ingredients, such as grapes, malt, and rice. Drinking prevalence has varied and is more pronounced in women and the youth. Alcoholism is shown to be of neurophysiologic origin and may lead to the impairment of all human body systems. The most frequent cause of death in alcoholics are the diseases of the cardiovascular system. Alcoholism at workplace is a very important issue as it affects health, reduces productivity, and may lead to accidents, injuries and decreased working capacity. Alcohol-related difficulties develop much earlier than the clinical picture. The diagnosis of alcoholism includes early detection of alcohol-related problems, so it is necessary to orient the healthcare services towards primary prevention and early intervention.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 01/2007; 57(4):413-26. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of respiratory abnormalities was studied in an elderly nursing home population. This study investigated 475 female and 147 male individuals living in five nursing homes in Zagreb, Croatia. Chronic respiratory symptoms were recorded using the British Medical Research Council questionnaire. Ventilatory capacity was measured with maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curves on which forced vital capacity (FVC), one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% FVC (FEF50), and maximum expiratory flow rate at 25% FVC (FEF25) were measured. A high rate of chronic respiratory illness and symptoms was found in both female and male nursing home residents. The highest rates were for asthma, chronic cough, and for chest tightness. Odds ratios (OR) showed that smoking and the length of employment were significant risk factors among men. Pulmonary function testing demonstrated a decrease in measured values compared to predicted (p<0.01). This was particularly pronounced for FEF50 and FEF25, suggesting obstructive changes in smaller airways. Regression coefficients were significant for smoking and employment primarily for FEF50 and FEF25. Our data suggest that older individuals residing in nursing homes exhibit an excess of respiratory symptoms, and lung function abnormalities. Smoking and past employment are important risk factors for these respiratory findings. Medical surveillance and preventive strategies should be implemented for this high risk population.
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 01/2007; 44(2):153-61. · 1.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms in 9 metapopulations on Adriatic islands in Croatia, and the relationship between respiratory symptoms and individual genetic background.
We obtained random sample of 1001 adult inhabitants of 9 Adriatic island villages in Croatia, that also included immigrants to these villages. European Union respiratory health questionnaire and World Health Organization non-communicable diseases questionnaire were used. Personal genetic histories were reconstructed, based on the two-generation ancestral pedigrees. Bivariate and multivariate methods were used in the analysis.
Women reported the occurrence of acute dyspnea (P=0.017), cough (P=0.002), and asthma (P=0.002) more often than men. Gender was the strongest predictor for acute and/or chronic cough (odds ratio [OR], 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23-2.33) and asthma (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.00-4.01), whereas smoking was the strongest risk factor for acute and chronic dyspnea (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.21-2.99) and airway narrowing (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.18-2.87). Residence on the northern islands increased the odds of allergy, whereas the highest odds ratio of 3.20 was associated with the interaction of northern residence and immigrant background. Genetic background was a significant predictor only for the occurrence of allergy symptoms.
Differences in respiratory findings among the island inhabitants were often associated with smoking prevalence. Interaction of residence on northern Adriatic islands and immigrant background proved to be the strongest predictor for the occurrence of allergy symptoms. This study indicated that environmental factors played a very important role in the occurrence of respiratory symptoms.
Croatian Medical Journal 09/2006; 47(4):627-34. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The definition of occupational health has changed significantly over time to cover broader aspects of health care and to promote worker's health. Over the centuries, the relationship between workplace hazards and occupational health care has been influenced by the character of work, social evolution and changes in manufacture, economy and demographics of the working populations. Numerous old civilizations showed deep prejudice towards human work. Very often manual work was done by slaves, and their health and safety were neglected. A spectrum of occupational diseases (acute, chronic, malignant and damage of reproduction) cover all organic body system, each of which can be affected by exposure to specific agents at workplace. Work and working conditions may deteriorate and worsen an existing illness which is not necessarily work-related. Living habits may also interfere with occupational factors leading to the development of a disease. Today, occupational medicine is the only medical field encompassing occupation and environment and health. This article also describes the historic development of occupational medicine in Croatia and some of the current regulations on occupational health in the country.
Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 07/2006; 57(2):201-12. · 0.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to dust in the cotton industry is associated with respiratory dysfunction. Healthy subjects challenged with cotton bract extract (CBE) develop transient airway hyperresponsiveness. CBE, a major component of cotton dust, is potentially an important agent for studying byssinosis.
To compare airway responses to cotton dust extract (CDE) and CBE in healthy subjects.
In 21 healthy, non-smoking subjects we compared the effects of CBE and CDE in a double-blind random order, following a 10-min aerosol inhalation. The response to methacholine (MCh) 2 h following CBE or CDE was measured. Lung function was recorded using maximal (MEFV) and partial expiratory flow volume (PEFV) curves, measuring MEF at 60% of baseline vital capacity below total lung capacity [MEF40%(P)] on the PEFV curve. Responders were subjects who developed a 20% or greater fall in MEF40%(P) following extract challenge. Endotoxin levels were low for CBE (5.71 EU/mg) and CDE (31.88 EU/mg).
There were 18 responders to CBE and 17 responders to CDE. The average maximal falls in MEF40%(P) were 70 +/- 4.9 and 70 +/- 4.4% of baseline (nonsignificant) following CBE and CDE, respectively. All subjects enhanced their MCh response following CBE or CDE. The MCh dose which reduced MEF40%(P) by 40% was identical for CBE and CDE (1.3 microg/ml).
We conclude that CBE and CDE exert similar physiologic effects.