The latest medical research on Occupational & Environmental Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about occupational & environmental medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Screening ToxCast™ for Chemicals That Affect Cholesterol Biosynthesis: Studies in Cell Culture and Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neuroprogenitors.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Changes in cholesterol metabolism are common hallmarks of neurodevelopmental pathologies. A diverse array of genetic disorders of cholesterol metabolism support this claim as do multiple lines of research that demonstrate chemical inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis compromises neurodevelopment. Recent work has revealed that a number of commonly used pharmaceuticals induce changes in cholesterol metabolism that are similar to changes induced by genetic disorders with devastating neurodevelopmental deficiencies.

We tested the hypothesis that common environmental toxicants may also impair cholesterol metabolism and thereby possibly contribute to neurodevelopmental toxicity.

Using high-throughput screening with a targeted lipidomic analysis and the mouse neuroblastoma cell line, Neuro-2a, the ToxCast™ chemical library was screened for compounds that impact sterol metabolism. Validation of chemical effects was conducted by assessing cholesterol biosynthesis in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neuroprogenitors using an isotopically labeled cholesterol precursor and by monitoring product formation with UPLC-MS/MS.

Twenty-nine compounds were identified as validated lead-hits, and four were prioritized for further study (endosulfan sulfate, tributyltin chloride, fenpropimorph, and spiroxamine). All four compounds were validated to cause hypocholesterolemia in Neuro-2a cells. The morpholine-like fungicides, fenpropimorph and spiroxamine, mirrored their Neuro-2a activity in four immortalized human cell lines and in a human neuroprogenitor model derived from hiPSCs, but endosulfan sulfate and tributyltin chloride did not.

These data reveal the existence of environmental compounds that interrupt cholesterol biosynthesis and that methodologically hiPSC neuroprogenitor cells provide a particularly sensitive system to monitor the effect of small molecules on de novo cholesterol formation. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5053.

Psychosocial work stressors and risk of mortality in Australia: analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

To examine the association between exposures to psychosocial work stressors and mortality in a nationally representative Australian working population sample.

18 000 participants from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey with self-reported job demands, job control, job security and fair pay psychosocial work stressors exposures at baseline were followed for up to 15 waves. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between psychosocial work stressors and mortality. Models were serially adjusted for each subgroup of demographic, socioeconomic, health and behavioural risk factors.

Low job control was associated with a 39% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.39; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.85), controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, health and behavioural factors. A decreased risk of mortality was observed for workers with exposure to high job demands (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.60 to 0.96, adjusted for gender and calendar), but the risk was attenuated after serially adjusting for socioeconomic status, health (HR=0.84; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.08) and behavioural (HR=0.79; 95% CI 0.60 to 1.04) factors. There did not appear to be an association between exposure to job insecurity (HR 1.03; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.33) and mortality, or unfair pay and mortality (HR 1.04; 95% CI 0.80 to 1.34).

Low job control may be associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. Policy and practice interventions that reduce the adverse impact of low job control in stressful work environments could be considered to improve health and decrease risk of mortality.

Lifetime cumulative exposure to rubber dust, fumes and N-nitrosamines and non-cancer mortality: a 49-year follow-up of UK rubber factory workers.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

To examine associations between occupational exposures to rubber dust, rubber fumes and N-nitrosamines and non-cancer mortality.

A cohort of 36 441 males aged 35+ years employed in British rubber factories was followed-up to 2015 (94% deceased). Competing risk survival analysis was used to assess risks of dying from non-cancer diseases (respiratory, urinary, cerebrovascular, circulatory and digestive diseases). Occupational exposures to rubber dust, rubber fumes, N-nitrosamines were derived based on a population-specific quantitative job-exposure matrix which in-turn was based on measurements in the EU-EXASRUB database.

Exposure-response associations of increased risk with increasing exposure were found for N-nitrosomorpholine with mortality from circulatory diseases (subdistribution hazard ratio (SHR) 1.17; 95% CI 1.12 to 1.23), ischaemic heart disease (IHD) (SHR 1.19; 95% CI 1.13 to 1.26), cerebrovascular disease (SHR 1.19; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.32) and exposures to N-nitrosodimethylamine with respiratory disease mortality (SHR 1.41; 95% CI 1.30 to 1.53). Increased risks for mortality from circulatory disease, IHD and digestive diseases were found with higher levels of exposures to rubber dust, rubber fumes and N-nitrosamines sum, without an exposure-dependent manner. No associations were observed between rubber dust, rubber fumes and N-nitrosamines exposures with mortality from asthma, urinary disease, bronchitis, emphysema, liver disease and some digestive diseases.

In a cohort of rubber factory workers with 49 years of follow-up, increased risk for mortality from circulatory, cerebrovascular, respiratory and digestive diseases were found to be associated with cumulative occupational exposures to specific agents.

Effects of Aluminum on the Integrity of the Intestinal Epithelium: An in Vitro and in Vivo Study.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Aluminum (Al) is the most abundant and ubiquitous metal in the environment. The main route of human exposure to Al is through food and water intake. Although human exposure to Al is common, the influence of Al on the gastrointestinal tract remains poorly understood.

We aimed to further understand the toxic effect of Al and to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms in the intestinal barrier.

The human intestinal epithelial cell line HT-29 and C57BL6 mice were exposed to AlCl 3 at 0 - 16   mM ( 1 - 24 h ) and 5 - 50 mg / kg body weight (13 weeks), respectively. In cell culture experiments, intracellular oxidative stress, inflammatory protein and gene expression, and intestinal epithelial permeability were measured. In animal studies, histological examination, gene expression, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity assays were conducted.

Cellular oxidative stress level (superoxide production) in AlCl 3 -treated cells ( 4   mM , 3 h ) was approximately 38-fold higher than that of the control. Both protein and mRNA expression of tight junction (TJ) components (occludin and claudin-1) in AlCl 3 -treated cells ( 1 - 4   mM , 24 h ) was significantly lower than that of the control. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) decreased up to 67% in AlCl 3 -treated cells ( 2   mM , 24 h ) compared with that of the control, which decreased approximately 7%. Al activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and nuclear factor-kappa B ( NF- κ B ), resulting in mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9, myosin light-chain kinase, and inflammatory cytokines [tumor necrosis factor alpha ( TNF- α ), interleukin- 1 β ( IL- 1 β ), and IL-6] in HT-29 cells. Moreover, oral administration of AlCl 3 to mice induced pathological alteration, MPO activation, and inflammatory cytokine ( TNF- α , IL- 1 β , and IL-6) production in the colon.

Al induced epithelial barrier dysfunction and inflammation via generation of oxidative stress, down-regulation of the TJ proteins, and production of inflammatory cytokines in HT-29 cells. In addition, Al induced toxicity in the colon by increasing the levels of inflammatory cytokines and MPO activity and induced histological damage in a mouse model. Our data suggest that Al may be a potential risk factor for human intestinal diseases. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5701.

Occupational chemical exposures in pregnancy and fetal growth: evidence from the Born in Bradford Study.

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment

Objectives This prospective birth cohort study evaluated the effect of occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) during pregnan...

Preoperative and post-operative psychosocial interventions for bariatric surgery patients: A systematic review.

Obesity Reviews

Psychosocial interventions are increasingly being utilized to help patients prepare for, and adjust to changes following, bariatric surgery in orde...

Tobacco manufacturer lobbying to undercut minimum price laws: an analysis of internal industry documents.

Tobacco Control

Increasing the price of tobacco products has the potential to reduce tobacco consumption. As other forms of promotion have been increasingly restricted over time, tobacco manufacturers have relied more on trade discounts. Minimum price laws that prevented the use of manufacturer promotions were once common; however in most US jurisdictions these discounts are now legally protected.

We collected tobacco industry documents, state legislation and court cases between 1987 and 2016 to review tobacco manufacturer strategies to change minimum price laws in the USA.

Beginning in 2000, tobacco manufacturers lobbied to amend minimum price legislation after state regulators indicated that manufacturer promotions were illegal under existing laws. Companies viewed changing these laws as critical to maintaining tobacco sales, and after the initiation of an industry lobbying campaign, at least 20 states changed the way they calculated tobacco prices.

Modifying existing minimum price laws so that manufacturer discounts are no longer protected, and implementing new minimum price policies with comparable scope, would likely increase prices and reduce tobacco use.

Healthy and Climate-Friendly Eating Patterns in the New Zealand Context.

Environmental Health Perspectives

The global food system is driving both the climate crisis and the growing burden of noncommunicable disease. International research has highlighted the climate and health co-benefit opportunity inherent in widespread uptake of plant-based diets. Nevertheless, uncertainty remains as to what constitutes healthy and climate-friendly eating patterns in specific world regions.

Using New Zealand as a case study, this research investigates the extent to which potential contextual differences may affect the local applicability of international trends. It further examines the potential for demand-end avenues to support a transition toward a healthier, more climate-friendly food system in New Zealand.

A New Zealand-specific life-cycle assessment (LCA) database was developed by modifying cradle to point-of-sale reference emissions estimates according to the New Zealand context. This food emissions database, together with a New Zealand-specific multistate life-table model, was then used to estimate climate, health, and health system cost impacts associated with shifting current consumption to align with dietary scenarios that conform to the New Zealand dietary guidelines (NZDGs).

Whole plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains were substantially less climate-polluting ( 1.2 - 1.8   kgCO 2 e / kg ) than animal-based foods, particularly red and processed meats ( 12 - 21   kgCO 2 e / kg ). Shifting population-level consumption to align with the NZDGs would confer diet-related emissions savings of 4-42%, depending on the degree of dietary change and food waste minimization pursued. NZDG-abiding dietary scenarios, when modeled out over the lifetime of the current New Zealand population, would also confer large health gains (1.0-1.5 million quality-adjusted life-years) and health care system cost savings ( NZ $ 14 - 20   billion ).

Guideline-abiding dietary scenarios, particularly those that prioritize plant-based foods, have the potential to confer substantial climate and health gains. This research shows that major contextual differences specific to New Zealand's food system do not appear to cause notable deviation from global trends, reinforcing recent international research. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5996.

Changes in physical activity, diet, and body weight across the education and employment transitions of early adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obesity Reviews

Early adulthood is a time when individuals go through important life transitions, such as moving from high school into higher education or employme...

Time to return to work following workplace violence among direct healthcare and social workers.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

This study examined time to return-to-work (RTW) among direct healthcare and social workers with violence-related incidents compared with these workers with non-violence-related incidents in British Columbia, Canada.

Accepted workers' compensation lost-time claims were extracted between 2010 and 2014. Workers with violence-related incidents and with non-violence-related incidents were matched using coarsened exact matching (n=5762). The outcome was days until RTW within 1 year after the first day of time loss, estimated with Cox regression using piecewise models, stratified by injury type, occupation, care setting and shift type.

Workers with violence-related incidents, compared with workers with non-violence-related incidents, were more likely to RTW within 30 days postinjury, less likely within 61-180 days, and were no different after 181 days. Workers with psychological injuries resulting from a violence-related incident had a lower likelihood to RTW during the year postinjury (HR 0.61, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.86). Workers with violence-related incidents in counselling and social work occupations were less likely to RTW within 90 days postinjury (HR 31-60 days: 0.67, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.95 and HR 61-90 days: 0.46, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.69). Workers with violence-related incidents in long-term care and residential social services were less likely to RTW within 91-180 days postinjury.

Workers with psychological injuries, and those in counselling and social work occupations and in long-term care and residential social services, took longer to RTW following a violence-related incident than workers with non-violence-related incidents. Future research should focus on identifying risk factors to reduce the burden of violence and facilitate RTW.

Glucose metabolism in midlife predicts participation in working life: a Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

To evaluate how clinically measured glucose metabolism categories predict registered participation in working life.

In the 46-year follow-up of Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (n=5328, 2342 men and 2986 women), we used oral glucose tolerance tests, surveys and glycated haemoglobin to determine glucose metabolism categorised as normal, pre-diabetes, screen-detected and previous type 2 diabetes (T2D). Consequent participation in working life during the 2-year follow-up period was measured as registered disability, unemployment and employment days, for which incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with 95% CIs were calculated using Poisson regression, adjusted for baseline employment and socioeconomic, health-related and behavioural factors.

In comparison to normal glucose, all categories of impaired glucose metabolism were associated with poorer participation in working life in the unadjusted models. After adjustments, the risks (IRR (95% CI)) of disability days remained heightened by both screen-detected and previous T2D among men (1.3 (1.3 to 1.4) and 1.5 (1.4 to 1.5), respectively), whereas among women the risks were lowered (0.9 (0.8 to 0.9) and 0.9 (0.9 to 1.0), respectively). The risks of unemployment were consistently higher in all categories of impaired glucose metabolism, and were the highest among women with previous T2D (1.6 (1.5 to 1.6)). Correspondingly, the rates of total employment days were lower in relation to screen-detected T2D among men and women (5% and 6%, respectively), and previous T2D (6% and 3%).

Overall, impaired glucose metabolism associated with deteriorated working life participation already in middle age. The high prevalence of impaired glucose metabolism emphasises the need for actions to support sustainable working careers.

Welding and the risk of head and neck cancer: the ICARE study.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

To investigate the association between occupational exposure to welding and the risk of head and neck cancer in a large French population-based case-control study, the Investigation of occupational and environmental CAuses of REspiratory cancers study.

Analyses were restricted to men (2703 controls and 1588 cases of squamous-cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx). Welding activity and potential confounders were assessed by detailed questionnaires. ORs and CIs (95% CI) were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, adjusted for age, area of residence, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and occupational exposure to asbestos.

Welding was associated with an increased risk of head and neck cancer overall (OR=1.31, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.67). The association was strongest for laryngeal cancer (OR=1.66, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.38) and the risk increased with the cumulative duration (p-trend <0.01) and the weighted duration (p-trend <0.01) of welding. A cumulative duration and a weighted duration of welding of more than 10 years were also associated with a significantly increased risk of oral cancer (OR=1.82, 95% CI 1.09 to 3.04; OR=2.10, 95% CI 0.99 to 4.45, respectively). A long duration of arc welding was associated with laryngeal cancer, whereas a long duration of spot welding was associated with oral cancer. Welding was not associated with the risk of oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.

Our findings suggest that welding and several welding-related tasks increase the risk of laryngeal cancer and to a lesser extent oral cancer.