[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the relationship between chronotype and sleep disturbance, and assessed various factors that might be associated with sleep disturbance in Korean firefighters.
Self-administered questionnaires assessing chronotype, depression, alcohol use, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress response and sleep quality were examined in 515 firefighters.
Evening type firefighters more reported depression, alcohol use, PTSD, stress response and sleep disturbance. Also evening chronotype was the most significant risk factor for poor sleep quality (odds ratio [OR], 4.812; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.448-9.459), even after controlling for all other variables (OR, 3.996; 95% CI, 1.806-8.841).
Chronotype was the factor most strongly associated with sleep disturbance, and therefore should be considered an important variable in sleep quality, particularly in occupations involving stressful activities, such as firefighting.
Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was conducted to estimate the cause-specific mortality in male emergency responders (ER), compare with that of Korean men. Mortality was also compared between more experienced firefighters (i.e., firefighters employed ≥20 years and firefighters employed ≥10 to <20 years) and less experienced firefighters and non-firefighters (i.e., firefighters employed <10 years and non-firefighters) to investigate associations between mortality and exposure to occupational hazards.
The cohort was comprised of 33,442 males who were employed as ERs between 1980 and 2007 and not deceased as of 1991. Work history was merged with the death registry from the National Statistical Office of Korea to follow-up on mortality between 1992 and 2007. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) for ERs were calculated in reference to the Korean male population. Adjusted relative risks (ARRs) of mortalities for firefighters employed ≥20 years and ≥10 years to <20 years were calculated in reference to non-firefighters and firefighters employed < 10 years.
Overall (SMR=0.43, 95%CI=0.39-0.47) and some kinds of cause-specific mortalities were significantly lower among ERs compared with the Korean male population. No significant increase in mortality was observed across the major ICD-10 classifications among ERs. Mortality due to exposure to smoke, fire, and flames (SMR=3.11, 95% CI=1.87-4.85), however, was significantly increased among ERs. All-cause mortality (ARR=1.46, 95% CI=1.13-1.89), overall cancer mortality (ARR=1.54, 95% CI=1.02-2.31) and mortality of external injury, poisoning and external causes (ARR=3.13, 95% CI=1.80-5.46) were significantly increased among firefighters employed ≥20 years compared to those of non-firefighters and firefighters employed < 10 years.
An increase in mortality due to all cancer and external injury, poisoning, and external causes in firefighters employed ≥20 years compared with non-firefighters and firefighters employed <10 years suggests occupational exposure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether performance IQ in children is associated with maternal blood cadmium concentration in early pregnancy.Method
The present study is a component of the Mothers’ and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study, a multi-center birth cohort project in Korea that began in 2006. The study cohort consisted of 119 children whose mothers underwent testing of blood cadmium during early pregnancy. All children were evaluated using the Korean version of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, revised edition (WPPSI-R), at 60 months of age. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to analyze the correlation between IQ in children and maternal blood cadmium concentration in early pregnancy, after adjustment for covariates.ResultsMaternal blood cadmium concentration during early pregnancy was inversely associated with performance IQ, after adjustment for covariates such as sex, educational levels of both parents, family income, and maternal BMI. Maternal blood cadmium concentration, however, was not associated with cognitive IQ.Conclusion
Performance IQ in children is associated with maternal blood cadmium concentration in early pregnancy.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An understanding of the characteristics of occupational lung cancer is important to establish policies that prevent carcinogen exposure and to compensate workers exposed to lung carcinogens. This study analyzed the characteristics of occupational lung cancers in workers who were compensated under the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Law between 1994 and 2011. A total of 179 occupational lung cancers were compensated. The main carcinogenic exposure was asbestos, followed by crystalline silica and hexavalent chromium. The mean exposure duration and latency were 19.8 and 23.2 yr. The most common industry was manufacturing, followed by construction and transportation. The most common occupation was maintenance and repair, followed by foundry work, welding, painting, and spinning or weaving. Although asbestos was predominant carcinogen, the proportion of these cases was relatively low compared to other developed countries. Proper surveillance system is needed to monitor occupational lung cancer and improve prevention measures.
Preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Korean Medical Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To investigate whether blood lead concentrations are elevated in iron-deficient children, and to examine the association between iron deficiency and/or elevated blood lead concentration and cognitive deficits in children.
The present study is a component of the Mothers' and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study, a multi-center birth cohort project in Korea that began in 2006. The study cohort consisted of 194 children who underwent testing of blood lead and serum C-reactive proteins (CRPs) and ferritin concentrations, and the Korean version of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, revised edition (WPPSI-R), at 60 months of age. In addition, the mothers' blood lead concentrations during pregnancy were included in the analyses. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to analyze the correlation between high blood lead and low serum ferritin concentrations, after adjustment for covariates, in children, as well as to analyze the association of verbal IQ with serum ferritin and blood lead concentrations.
Lead and ferritin concentrations were inversely and significantly associated in children after adjustment for covariates. Moreover, both concentrations were associated with verbal IQ, after adjustment for covariates, and each was associated with cognitive deficits after adjustment for the other. Sobel test statistics showed that blood lead concentration was a significant partial mediator for the relationship between iron deficiency and verbal IQ.
Due to the results discussed in the present study, cognitive deficit in children seems to be associated not only with iron deficiency, but also with blood lead concentration.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
It is well known that lead exposure induces neurotoxic effects, which can result in a variety of neurocognitive dysfunction. Especially, occupational lead exposures in adults are associated with decreases in cognitive performance including working memory. Despite recent advances in human neuroimaging techniques, the neural correlates of lead-exposed cognitive impairment remain unclear. Therefore, this study was aimed to compare the neural activations in relation to working memory function between the lead-exposed subjects and healthy controls.
Thirty-one lead-exposed subjects and 34 healthy subjects performed an n-back memory task during MRI scan. We performed fMRI using the 1-back and 2-back memory tasks differing in cognitive demand. Functional MRI data were analyzed using within- and between-group analysis. We found that the lead-exposed subjects showed poorer working memory performance during high memory loading task than the healthy subjects. In addition, between-group analyses revealed that the lead-exposed subjects showed reduced activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, pre supplementary motor areas, and inferior parietal cortex.
Our findings suggest that functional abnormalities in the frontoparietal working memory network might contribute to impairments in maintenance and manipulation of working memory in the lead-exposed subjects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resilience is considered to be a powerful protective factor in buffering the detrimental impact of traumatic stress on the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is a striking lack of research concerning the development of a model of resilience, especially one including both risk and protective factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible mediators and moderators influencing the relationship between traumatic stress and PTSD using a moderated mediation analysis.
Study participants included 552 Korean firefighters from four large cities. The subjects completed a series of self-report measures including the Life Event Checklist, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Occupational Stress Scale, the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale.
Traumatic stress had both a direct and an indirect, via perceived stress, impact on the development of PTSD symptoms. Additionally, the mediation of the association between traumatic stress and PTSD symptoms via perceived stress was moderated by individual resilience. In particular, under the same level of traumatic stress, firefighters with high levels of resilience (scores ≥75, upper 25th percentile or ≥90, upper 10th percentile) were protected from both the direct and indirect impacts of traumatic stress relative to those with lower levels of individual resilience.
The current findings provide a comprehensive picture of individuals who should be considered at high risk for the development of PTSD symptoms following traumatic stress and identify the factors that should be targeted by efforts to prevent PTSD.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Affective Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of dust on infrared emission vary among galaxies of different morphological types. We investigated integrated spectral energy distributions (SEDs) in infrared and submillimeter/millimeter emissions from the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) based on observations from the Herschel Space Observatory (HSO) and near- to mid-infrared observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST). We also used IRAS and WMAP observations to constrain the SEDs and present the results of radiative transfer calculations using the spectrophotometric galaxy model. We explain the observations by using dust models with different grain size distributions in the interstellar medium of the LMC, noting that the LMC has undergone processes that differ from those in the Milky Way. We determined a spectral index and a normalization factor in the range of −3.5 to −3.45 with grain radii in the range of 1 nm–300 nm for the silicate grain and 2 nm–1 μm for the graphite grain. The best fit to the observed SED was obtained with a spectral index of −3.47, similar to the value derived by Piovan et al. (Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 366(3):923, 2006a). The grain size distribution is described using a power law but with a break that is introduced below a
, where a larger exponent is used. Changing the graphite grain size distribution significantly changed the SED pattern within the observational uncertainties. Based on the SED fits to the observations from submillimeter wavelengths to infrared radiation from the LMC using GRASIL (Silva et al., Astrophys. J. 509(1):103, 1998), we obtained a reasonable set of parameter values in chemical and geometric space together with the grain size distributions (Weingartner and Draine, Astrophys. J. 548(1):296, 2001) and a modified MRN model with the LMC extinction curve (Piovan et al., Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 366(3):923, 2006a). For a given set of parameters including the disc scale height, synthesis of the starlight spectrum, optical depth, escape time scale, dust model, and star formation efficiency, the adopted dust-to-gas ratio for modeling the observed SEDs, ∼1/300 (from the literature) yields a reasonable fit to the observed SEDs and similar results with the metallicity of the LMC as those reported in Russell and Bessell (Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 70:865, 1989). The dust-to-gas ratios that are given as the metallicity caused the variation in the model fits. The difference mainly appears at the wavelengths near 100 μm.
Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Astrophysics and Space Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
A great deal of research has been devoted to identifying subclinical functional brain abnormalities in manganese (Mn)-exposed welders. However, no previous study has investigated morphological brain abnormalities, such as changes in brain volume, in welders. This study evaluates morphological changes in brain volume among welders, and investigates the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and subclinical dysfunction in this population.
We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to assess differences in gray and white matter brain volumes between 40 welders with chronic Mn exposure and 26 age-matched control subjects. Correlation analyses were used to investigate the relationship between brain volume changes and decreased performance on neurobehavioral tests.
Brain volumes in the globus pallidus and cerebellar regions were significantly diminished in welders with chronic Mn exposure compared to controls (FDR-corrected P<0.05). These changes in brain volume were negatively correlated with cognitive performance and grooved pegboard scores.
There are measurable brain volume reductions in the globus pallidus and cerebellum of welders chronically exposed to Mn, and these volume reductions correlate with cognitive and motor neurobehavioral deficits. Our findings therefore indicate that volumetric measurement could be a useful subclinical marker among welders that show no signs of manganism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our objective was to evaluate the relationship between intrauterine exposure to cadmium and the presence of atopic dermatitis in infants 6 months of age, adjusted for covariates including exposure to other heavy metals. The present research is a component of the Mothers' and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study, a multi-center birth cohort project conducted in Korea. Study subjects were restricted to pregnant women in whom cadmium and lead levels were measured at delivery and whose infants were assessed for the presence of atopic disease at 6 months of age. The odds ratio (OR) for the presence of atopic dermatitis in 6-month-old infants whose cord blood had elevated cadmium levels, after adjustment for other covariates, was 2.350 (95% CI, 1.126-4.906). The OR for the presence of atopic dermatitis in infants whose cord blood had elevated lead levels was not significant. In the present study, the cord blood cadmium level was significantly associated with the presence of atopic dermatitis in 6-month-old infants; this was not true of the cord blood lead level. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective study to show a relationship between prenatal exposure to cadmium and atopic dermatitis in infancy.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Korean medical science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many professional emergency responders (ERs) who belong to the Korean National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have been cross-trained and serve multiple roles. As such, firefighters and other ERs in Korea are exposed to similar occupational hazards. This study was conducted to estimate cancer morbidity in male ERs and compare that with Korean men.
The cohort was comprised of 33,416 male ERs working between 1980 and 2007, who were alive on December 31, 1995. Work histories were merged with the Korea National Central Cancer Registry (KNCCR) to assess cancer morbidity between 1996 and 2007. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with reference to Korean men were analyzed.
SIRs with reference to national cancer rates were not significantly decreased for overall cancer (SIR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.90-1.08) in all ERs. However, colorectal (SIR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.07-1.67), kidney (SIR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.00-2.41), and bladder (SIR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.08-2.73) cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.12-2.76) morbidities were significantly increased among all ERs. In firefighters, significantly increased cancer types were as same as those of all ERs. In non-firefighter ERs, colorectal (SIR = 2.51, 95% CI = 1.20-4.61) and bone and articular cartilage cancers (SIR = 9.53, 95% CI = 1.07-34.41) were significantly higher than those of Korean men.
Korean firefighters showed excess morbidity in several cancer types, including colorectal and urologic cancers, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, demonstrating similar trends to previous studies for firefighters conducted in other countries. Increased incidence in these cancer types suggests occupational exposure to carcinogens and shift work.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · American Journal of Industrial Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic exposure to manganese (Mn), which can be an occupational hazard or can result from liver failure, is associated with adverse motor and cognitive outcomes. Evidence from previous neuroimaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies suggested alteration of function in Mn-exposed brains. However, the effect of chronic exposure of the human brain to Mn on white matter (WM) structure has not yet been determined. In the present study, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate whether welders exposed to Mn demonstrate differences in WM integrity, compared with control subjects. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were measured on a voxel-wise basis in 30 male welders with exposure to Mn and in 19 age- and gender-matched control subjects. Direct comparison between welders and controls using investigator-independent Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) voxel-wise analysis of DTI metrics revealed a reduction of FA in the corpus callosum (CC) and frontal WM in Mn-exposed welders. Further, marked increases in RD and negligible changes in AD suggested that the microstructural changes in the CC and frontal WM result from compromised radial directionality of fibers in these areas, caused primarily by demyelination. Correlation analysis with neurobehavioral performance also suggested that the microstructural abnormalities were associated with subtle motor and cognitive differences in welders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic manganese (Mn) exposure often leads to impairments in fine motor and cognitive functions, particularly memory. However, the neural correlates of Mn-induced alterations in memory remain unclear. In the present study, we performed functional MRI (fMRI) with 2-back memory tests to assess the neural correlates of Mn-induced memory impairment in response to subclinical dysfunction in the working memory networks in welders exposed to Mn for extended periods of time. Within-group and between-group analyses revealed that brain activity in working memory networks was increased in welders with chronic Mn exposure during the 2-back verbal working memory task compared to healthy control individuals. Therefore, our fMRI findings indicate that welders might require more neural resources in working memory networks to compensate for subtle deficits in working memory and altered working memory processes, even if they performed the tasks at the same level as healthy control individuals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a previous study, regional delivery of manganese (Mn)ions within the brain revealed that the metal accumulates in the basal ganglia, where it induces degeneration of the globus pallidus. Degeneration of the basal ganglia impairs motor ability by compromising an important neural circuit involved in the regulation of motor control. Therefore, much research has been devoted to identifying a sensitive and non-invasive imaging marker to evaluate the functional correlates of Mn-related brain dysfunction.
We performed the first-ever sequential finger-tapping functional MRI (fMRI) experiment to investigate the behavioural significance of additionally recruited brain regions in welders with chronic Mn exposure.
During the finger tapping task, activation of the bilateral primary sensorimotor cortex (SM1), bilateral supplementary motor area (SMA), bilateral dorsolateral premotor cortex, bilateral superior parietal cortex and ipsilateral dentate nucleus was higher in the welding group (42 welders) than in the control group (26 controls). The pallidal index correlated with the activation observed in the contralateral SM1 for the finger tapping task of the left hand. The fMRI variables correlated with motor behaviour. Grooved Pegboard performances (right hand) correlated with activation, as seen in the ipsilateral and contralateral SMAs obtained during the finger tapping task of the right hand.
Our findings suggest that increased brain activation results from the compensational activation of ancillary cortical pathways, which ensures adequate motor function.
No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Occupational and environmental medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article presents a schematic review of the clinical manifestations of occupational neurologic disorders in Korea and discusses the toxicologic implications of these conditions. Vascular encephalopathy, parkinsonism, chronic toxic encephalopathy, cerebellar dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy, and neurodegenerative diseases are common presentations of occupational neurotoxic syndromes in Korea. Few neurotoxins cause patients to present with pathognomic neurologic syndrome. Detailed neurologic examinations and categorization of the clinical manifestations of neurologic disorders will improve the clinical management of occupational neurologic diseases. Physicians must be aware of the typical signs and symptoms of possible exposure to neurotoxins, and they should also pay attention to less-typical, rather-vague symptoms and signs in workers because the toxicologic characteristics of occupational neurologic diseases in Korea have changed from typical patterns to less-typical or equivocal patterns. This shift is likely to be due to several years of low-dose exposure, perhaps combined with the effects of aging, and new types of possibly toxicant-related neurodegenerative diseases. Close collaboration between neurologists and occupational physicians is needed to determine whether neurologic disorders are work-related.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Journal of Clinical Neurology