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Anttila S.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine | Year: 2012

Context.-Diagnosing epithelioid serosal lesions remains a challenge because numerous different processes-primary or secondary, benign or malignant-occur in body cavities, some of which are very rare. Objectives.-To review the newest literature and to describe the morphologic criteria and immunohistochemical markers that are useful for distinguishing epithelioid serosal lesions. Data Sources.-Previously published literature concentrating on the newest research findings. Earlier reviews are principally referred to for established diagnostic criteria. Conclusions.-Immunohistochemistry with a panel of antibodies has made the diagnosis of epithelioid serosal lesions very reliable. When deciding on antibodies used in differential diagnosis, it is important to consider tumor location, clinical and radiologic information, and morphologic features. Immunohistochemistry is less useful in the differential diagnosis of benign versus malignant mesothelial lesions. The diagnosis of benign versusmalignantmesothelial proliferations still relies on the histologic criteria of invasion.

Mischke C.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

There is uncertainty as to whether and what extent occupational safety and health regulation and legislation enforcement activities, such as inspections, are effective and efficient to improve workers' health and safety. We use the term regulation to refer both to regulation and legislation. To assess the effects of occupational safety and health regulation enforcement tools for preventing occupational diseases and injuries. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE (embase.com), CINAHL (EBSCO), PsycINFO (Ovid), OSH update, HeinOnline, Westlaw International, EconLit and Scopus from the inception of each database until January 2013. We also checked reference lists of included articles and contacted study authors to identify additional published, unpublished and ongoing studies. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled before-after studies (CBAs), interrupted time series (ITS) and econometric panel studies of firms or workplaces evaluating inspections, warnings or orders, citations or fines, prosecution or firm closure by governmental representatives and if the outcomes were injuries, diseases or exposures.In addition, we included qualitative studies of workers' or employers' attitudes or beliefs towards enforcement tools. Pairs of authors independently extracted data on the main characteristics, the risk of bias and the effects of the interventions. We expressed intervention effects as risk ratios (RR) or mean differences (MD). We recalculated other effect measures into RRs or MDs. We combined the results of similar studies in a meta-analysis. We located 23 studies: two RCTs with 1414 workplaces, two CBAs with 9903 workplaces, one ITS with six outcome measurements, 12 panel studies and six qualitative studies with 310 participants. Studies evaluated the effects of inspections in general and the effects of their consequences, such as penalties. Studies on the effects of prosecution, warnings or closure were not available or were of such quality that we could not include their results. The effect was measured on injury rates, on exposure to physical workload and on compliance with regulation, with a follow-up varying from one to four years. All studies had serious limitations and therefore the quality of the evidence was low to very low. The injury rates in the control groups varied across studies from 1 to 23 injuries per 100 person-years and compliance rates varied from 40% to 75% being compliant.The effects of inspections were inconsistent in seven studies: injury rates decreased or stayed at a similar level compared to no intervention at short and medium-term follow-up. In studies that found a decrease the effect was small with a 10% decrease of the injury rate. At long-term follow-up, in one study there was a significant decrease of 23% (95% confidence interval 8% to 23%) in injury rates and in another study a substantial decrease in accident rates, both compared to no intervention.First inspections, follow-up inspections, complaint and accident inspections resulted in higher compliance rates compared to the average effect of any other type of inspections.In small firms, inspections with citations or with more penalties could result in fewer injuries or more compliance in the short term but not in the medium term.Longer inspections and more frequent inspections probably do not result in more compliance.In two studies, there was no adverse effect of inspections on firm survival, employment or sales.Qualitative studies show that there is support for enforcement among workers. However, workers doubt if the inspections are effective because inspections are rare and violations can be temporarily fixed to mislead inspectors. There is evidence that inspections decrease injuries in the long term but not in the short term. The magnitude of the effect is uncertain. There are no studies that used chemical or physical exposures as outcome. Specific, focused inspections could have larger effects than inspections in general. The effect of fines and penalties is uncertain. The quality of the evidence is low to very low and therefore these conclusions are tentative and can be easily changed by better future studies. There is an urgent need for better designed evaluations, such as pragmatic randomised trials, to establish the effects of existing and novel enforcement methods, especially on exposure and disorders.

Hakanen J.J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health | Schaufeli W.B.,University Utrecht
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2012

Background: Burnout and work engagement have been viewed as opposite, yet distinct states of employee well-being. We investigated whether work-related indicators of well-being (i.e. burnout and work engagement) spill-over and generalize to context-free well-being (i.e. depressive symptoms and life satisfaction). More specifically, we examined the causal direction: does burnout/work engagement lead to depressive symptoms/life satisfaction, or the other way around? Methods: Three surveys were conducted. In 2003, 71% of all Finnish dentists were surveyed (n = 3255), and the response rate of the 3-year follow-up was 84% (n = 2555). The second follow-up was conducted four years later with a response rate of 86% (n = 1964). Structural equation modeling was used to investigate the cross-lagged associations between the study variables across time. Results: Burnout predicted depressive symptoms and life dissatisfaction from T1 to T2 and from T2 to T3. Conversely, work engagement had a negative effect on depressive symptoms and a positive effect on life satisfaction, both from T1 to T2 and from T2 to T3, even after adjusting for the impact of burnout at every occasion. Limitations: The study was conducted among one occupational group, which limits its generalizability. Conclusions: Work-related well-being predicts general wellbeing in the long-term. For example, burnout predicts depressive symptoms and not vice versa. In addition, burnout and work engagement are not direct opposites. Instead, both have unique, incremental impacts on life satisfaction and depressive symptoms. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Wolff C.H.J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
International Journal of Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Non-infectious inhaled microbial particles can cause illness by triggering an inappropriate immunological response. From the pathogenic point of view these illnesses can be seen to be related to on one hand autoimmune diseases and on the other infectious diseases. In this review three such illnesses are discussed in some detail. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is the best known of these illnesses and it has also been widely studied in animal models and clinically. In contrast to HP Pulmonary mycotoxicosis (PM) is not considered to involve immunological memory, it is an acute self-limiting condition is caused by an immediate toxic effect. Damp building related illness (DBRI) is a controversial and from a diagnostic point poorly defined entity that is however causing, or attributed to cause, much more morbidity than the two other diseases. In the recent decade there has been a shift in the focus of immunology from the lymphocyte centered, adaptive immunity towards innate immunity. The archetypal cell in innate immunity is the macrophage although many other cell types participate. Innate immunity relies on a limited number of germline coded receptors for the recognition of pathogens and signs of cellular damage. The focus on innate immunity has opened new paths for the understanding of many chronic inflammatory diseases. The purpose of this review is to discuss the impact of some recent studies, that include aspects concerning innate immunity, on our understanding of the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases associated with exposure to inhaled microbial matter. © Ivyspring International Publisher.

Liira J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health | Verbeek J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health | Ruotsalainen J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association | Year: 2015

CLINICAL QUESTION Are pharmacological interventions associated with better-quality sleep and alertness in shift workers? BOTTOM LINE Low-quality evidence shows that melatonin is associated with 24 minutes longer daytime sleep after the shift but not with faster falling asleep compared with placebo. There is no association between hypnotics, such as zopiclone, and sleep outcomes, alertness, or harms. The alertness-promoting medications armodafinil and modafinil are associated with improved alertness during shift work but are also associated with headache and nausea. Copyright © 2015 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

Shiri R.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Muscle and Nerve | Year: 2014

This study aimed to assess the magnitude of the association between hypothyroidism and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Eighteen studies were included in a random-effects meta-analysis. A meta-analysis of the studies that did not control their estimates for any confounder showed an association between a thyroid disease (hypo- or hyperthyroidism) and CTS (N=9,573, effect size [ES]=1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.68) and between hypothyroidism and CTS (N=64,531, ES=2.15 [95% CI, 1.64-2.83]). When a meta-analysis limited to the studies that controlled their estimates for some potential confounders, the association between a thyroid disease and CTS disappeared (N=4,799, ES=1.17 [95% CI, 0.71-1.92], I2=0%), and the effect size for hypothyroidism largely attenuated (N=71,133, ES=1.44 [95% CI, 1.27-1.63], I2=0%). Moreover, there was evidence of publication bias. This meta-analysis found only a modest association between hypothyroidism and CTS. Confounding and publication bias may still account for part of the remaining excess risk. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Verbeek J.H.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Millions of workers worldwide are exposed to noise levels that increase their risk of hearing impairment. Little is known about the effectiveness of hearing loss prevention interventions. To assess the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions for preventing occupational noise exposure or occupational hearing loss compared to no intervention or alternative interventions. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); PubMed; EMBASE; CINAHL; Web of Science; BIOSIS Previews; Cambridge Scientific Abstracts; and OSH update to 25 January 2012. We included randomised controlled trials (RCT), controlled before-after studies (CBA) and interrupted time-series (ITS) of non-clinical hearing loss prevention interventions under field conditions among workers exposed to noise. Two authors independently assessed study eligibility and risk of bias and extracted data. We included 25 studies. We found no controlled studies on engineering controls for noise exposure but one study evaluated legislation to reduce noise exposure in a 12-year time-series analysis. Eight studies with 3,430 participants evaluated immediate and long-term effects of personal hearing protection devices (HPDs) and sixteen studies with 82,794 participants evaluated short and long-term effects of hearing loss prevention programmes (HLPPs). The overall quality of studies was low to very low.The one ITS study that evaluated the effect of new legislation in reducing noise exposure found that the median noise level decreased by 27.7 dB(A) (95% confidence interval (CI) -36.1 to -19.3 dB) immediately after the implementation of stricter legislation and that this was associated with a favourable downward trend in time of -2.1 dB per year (95% CI -4.9 to 0.7).Hearing protection devices attenuated noise with about 20 dB(A) with variation among brands and types but for ear plugs these findings depended almost completely on proper instruction of insertion. Noise attenuation ratings of hearing protection under field conditions were consistently lower than the ratings provided by the manufacturers.One cluster-RCT compared a three-year information campaign as part of a hearing loss prevention programme for agricultural students to audiometry only with three and 16-year follow-up but there were no significant differences in hearing loss. Another study compared a HLPP, which provided regular personal noise exposure information, to a programme without this information in a CBA design. Exposure information was associated with a favourable but non-significant reduction of the rate of hearing loss of -0.82 dB per year (95% CI -1.86 to 0.22). Another cluster-RCT evaluated the effect of extensive on-site training sessions and the use of personal noise-level indicators versus information only on noise levels but did not find a significant difference after four months follow-up (Mean Difference (MD) -0.30 dB(A) (95%CI -3.95 to 3.35).There was very low quality evidence in four very long-term studies, that better use of HPDs as part of a HLPP decreased the risk of hearing loss compared to less well used hearing protection in HLPPs. Other aspects of the HLPP such as training and education of workers or engineering controls did not show a similar effect.In four long-term studies, workers in a HLPP still had a 0.5 dB greater hearing loss at 4 kHz than workers that were not exposed to noise (95% CI -0.5 to 1.7) which is about the level of hearing loss caused by exposure to 85 dB(A). In addition, two other studies showed substantial risk of hearing loss in spite of the protection of a HLPP compared to non-exposed workers. There is low quality evidence that implementation of stricter legislation can reduce noise levels in workplaces. Even though case studies show that substantial reductions in noise levels in the workplace can be achieved, there are no controlled studies of the effectiveness of such measures. The effectiveness of hearing protection devices depends on training and their proper use. There is very low quality evidence that the better use of hearing protection devices as part of HLPPs reduces the risk of hearing loss, whereas for other programme components of HLPPs we did not find such an effect. Better implementation and reinforcement of HLPPs is needed. Better evaluations of technical interventions and long-term effects are needed.

Sauni R.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2011

Dampness and mould in buildings have been associated with adverse respiratory symptoms, asthma and respiratory infections of inhabitants. Moisture damage is a very common problem in private houses, workplaces and public buildings such as schools. To determine the effectiveness of remediating buildings damaged by dampness and mould in order to reduce or prevent respiratory tract symptoms, infections and symptoms of asthma. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2), which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialised Register, MEDLINE (1951 to June week 1, 2011), EMBASE (1974 to June 2011), CINAHL (1982 to June 2011), Science Citation Index (1973 to June 2011), Biosis Previews (1989 to June 2011), NIOSHTIC (1930 to November 2010) and CISDOC (1974 to November 2010). Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-RCTs (cRCTs), interrupted time series studies and controlled before-after (CBA) studies of the effects of remediating dampness and mould in a building on respiratory symptoms, infections and asthma. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed the risk of bias in the included studies. We included eight studies (6538 participants); two RCTs (294 participants), one cRCT (4407 participants) and five CBA studies (1837 participants). The interventions varied from thorough renovation to cleaning only. We found moderate-quality evidence in adults that repairing houses decreased asthma-related symptoms (among others, wheezing (odds ratio (OR) 0.64; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55 to 0.75) and respiratory infections (among others, rhinitis (OR 0.57; 95% CI 0.49 to 0.66)). For children, we found moderate-quality evidence that the number of acute care visits (among others mean difference (MD) -0.45; 95% CI -0.76 to -0.14)) decreased in the group receiving thorough remediation.One CBA study showed very low-quality evidence that after repairing a mould-damaged office building, asthma-related and other respiratory symptoms decreased. For children and staff in schools, there was very low-quality evidence that asthma-related and other respiratory symptoms in mould-damaged schools were similar to those of children and staff in non-damaged schools, both before and after intervention. For children, respiratory infections might have decreased after the intervention. We found moderate to very low-quality evidence that repairing mould-damaged houses and offices decreases asthma-related symptoms and respiratory infections compared to no intervention in adults. There is very low-quality evidence that although repairing schools did not significantly change respiratory symptoms in staff or children, pupils' visits to physicians due to a common cold were less frequent after remediation of the school. Better research, preferably with a cRCT design and with more validated outcome measures, is needed.

Liira J.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2014

Shift work results in sleep-wake disturbances, which cause sleepiness during night shifts and reduce sleep length and quality in daytime sleep after the night shift. In its serious form it is also called shift work sleep disorder. Various pharmacological products are used to ameliorate symptoms of sleepiness or poor sleep length and quality. To evaluate the effects of pharmacological interventions to reduce sleepiness or to improve alertness at work and decrease sleep disturbances whilst off work, or both, in workers undertaking shift work in their present job and to assess their cost-effectiveness. We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed and PsycINFO up to 20 September 2013 and ClinicalTrials.gov up to July 2013. We also screened reference lists of included trials and relevant reviews. We included all eligible randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including cross-over RCTs, of pharmacological products among workers who were engaged in shift work (including night shifts) in their present jobs and who may or may not have had sleep problems. Primary outcomes were sleep length and sleep quality while off work, alertness and sleepiness, or fatigue at work. Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed risk of bias in included trials. We performed meta-analyses where appropriate. We included 15 randomised placebo-controlled trials with 718 participants. Nine trials evaluated the effect of melatonin and two the effect of hypnotics for improving sleep problems. One trial assessed the effect of modafinil, two of armodafinil and one examined caffeine plus naps to decrease sleepiness or to increase alertness.Melatonin (1 to 10 mg) after the night shift may increase sleep length during daytime sleep (mean difference (MD) 24 minutes, 95% confidence interval (CI) 9.8 to 38.9; seven trials, 263 participants, low quality evidence) and night-time sleep (MD 17 minutes, 95% CI 3.71 to 30.22; three trials, 234 participants, low quality evidence) compared to placebo. We did not find a dose-response effect. Melatonin may lead to similar sleep latency times as placebo (MD 0.37minutes, 95% CI - 1.55 to 2.29; five trials, 74 participants, low quality evidence).Hypnotic medication, zopiclone, did not result in significantly longer daytime sleep length compared to placebo in one low quality trial and we could not use the data from the study on lormetazepam.Armodafinil taken before the night shift probably reduces sleepiness by one point on the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) (MD -0.99, 95% CI -1.32 to -0.67; range 1 to 10; two trials, 572 participants, moderate quality evidence) and increases alertness by 50 ms in a simple reaction time test (MD -50.0, 95% CI -85.5 to -15.5) at three months' follow-up in shift work sleep disorder patients. Modafinil probably has similar effects on sleepiness (KSS) (MD -0.90, 95% CI -1.45 to -0.35; one trial, 183 participants, moderate quality evidence) and alertness in the psychomotor vigilance test in the same patient group. Post-marketing, severe skin reactions have been reported. Adverse effects reported by trial participants were headache, nausea and a rise in blood pressure. There were no trials in non-patient shift workers.Based on one trial, caffeine plus pre-shift naps taken before the night shift decreased sleepiness (KSS) (MD -0.63, 95% CI -1.09 to -0.17).We judged most trials to have a low risk of bias even though the randomisation method and allocation concealment were often not described. There is low quality evidence that melatonin improves sleep length after a night shift but not other sleep quality parameters. Both modafinil and armodafinil increase alertness and reduce sleepiness to some extent in employees who suffer from shift work sleep disorder but they are associated with adverse events. Caffeine plus naps reduces sleepiness during the night shift, but the quality of evidence is low. Based on one low quality trial, hypnotics did not improve sleep length and quality after a night shift.We need more and better quality trials on the beneficial and adverse effects and costs of all pharmacological agents that induce sleep or promote alertness in shift workers both with and without a diagnosis of shift work sleep disorder. We also need systematic reviews of their adverse effects.

Shiri R.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to assess the associations of overweight and obesity with lumbar radicular pain and sciatica using a meta-analysis. We searched the PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science databases from 1966 to July 2013. We performed a random-effects meta-analysis and assessed publication bias. We included 26 (8 cross-sectional, 7 case-control, and 11 cohort) studies. Both overweight (pooled odds ratio (OR) = 1.23, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14, 1.33; n = 19,165) and obesity (OR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.27, 1.55; n = 19,165) were associated with lumbar radicular pain. The pooled odds ratio for physician-diagnosed sciatica was 1.12 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.20; n = 109,724) for overweight and 1.31 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.62; n = 115,661) for obesity. Overweight (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.24; n = 358,328) and obesity (OR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.23, 1.54; n = 358,328) were associated with increased risk of hospitalization for sciatica, and overweight/obesity was associated with increased risk of surgery for lumbar disc herniation (OR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.25, 2.86; n = 73,982). Associations were similar for men and women and were independent of the design and quality of included studies. There was no evidence of publication bias. Our findings consistently showed that both overweight and obesity are risk factors for lumbar radicular pain and sciatica in men and women, with a dose-response relationship. © The Author 2014.

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