Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
News Article | May 17, 2017
Environmental health researchers in Bordeaux, France say their new evaluation on the timing of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma risk finds that the younger a person is at first exposure, the more likely they are to develop malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has more on the website. Click here to read the full article. University of Bordeaux scientists used a job exposure matrix to determine that exposure in younger workers is even more dangerous when it comes to pleural mesothelioma development. that later exposure. “Due to much stronger weights of early doses of asbestos exposure, subjects who accumulated 20 fibres/mL over the entire job history with high doses during the first years and low doses thereafter were at higher risk of pleural mesothelioma than those who accumulated most of the doses later,” writes lead study author Aude Lacourt. The report in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine is based on an evaluation of the cases of 1,196 male asbestos workers and 2,369 men of the same age who had never been exposed. “We have all heard cases of people who developed mesothelioma decades later after being exposed just briefly as a teenager,” says Alex Strauss, Managing Editor for Surviving Mesothelioma. “Then there are cases of long-time asbestos workers who never develop mesothelioma. These report is a reminder of the potential importance of timing, which is often overlooked.” To read more about the French study and the potential impact of asbestos exposure timing on mesothelioma development, see Mesothelioma Risk and the Timing of Asbestos Exposure, now available on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. Lacourt, A, et al, “Dose-time-response association between occupational asbestos exposure and pleural mesothelioma”, May 13, 2017, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epub ahead of print, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28501798 For more than a decade, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.
News Article | May 18, 2017
Santa Fe’s only destination spa, Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, announced today that it will now offer day visitors and locals access to their wellness practitioners, Medical Director, Sally Fisher, MD, and Lead Counselor Michael Schroeder, LMFT. Dr. Fisher focuses on integrative, holistic, preventive and nutritional medicine while Schroeder focuses on individual and couples’ counseling. Both experts offer on-site, one-on-one sessions to help guests discover optimal health. Guests meet for a personal, confidential consultation with Dr. Fisher to discuss a holistic approach to health concerns or wellness goals. In this session, Dr. Fisher’s compassionate approach to creating a sustainable plan for living well can include a range of concerns including brain health, digestive health, weight, nutrition and supplements, sleep, stress and cortisol issues, female or male health, autoimmunity and cancer. For lodging guests, Dr. Fisher teaches a variety of classes at Sunrise, covering topics such as nutrition, stress and relaxation, gut health, ancient rhythms (sleep, seasons, sunlight and darkness), and how history, evolution and botany have all played important roles in our use of food as medicine. A 70-acre oasis centered around natural cold spring-fed ponds and surrounded by towering cottonwood trees and extensive gardens, Sunrise sets the stage for guests to quickly grasp an improved sense of well-being just by spending time outdoors, walking the property, bathed in sunshine and away from their digital devices. “When guests arrive, they say they feel better almost instantly,” said Fisher. “When people realize they have the capacity to shift their experience more easily than they expected, they become inspired in our sessions to reach the health goals and objectives they seek.” At the center of Sunrise Springs is a Medicine Wheel, which represents the harmonious balance between the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of well-being. Here Michael Schroeder begins a session with questions which lead to insights about a guest’s present life. By creating this awareness, guests better understand their relationship with themselves and their connection with others. Schroeder’s confidential one-on-one sessions are solution-focused, combining art, myth, mindfulness and elements of Zen Buddhism to address topics such as stress and anxiety, esteem, intimacy, relationship wellness and parenting. “Our healing philosophies and experiential offerings are built for anyone seeking a deeper exploration and understanding of their lives,” said Schroeder. Dr. Sally Fisher and Michael Schroeder lead an experienced team of wellness professionals with offerings such as expressive arts and cooking classes, mindfulness meditation, yoga and fitness and horticulture as well as therapeutic activities with Silkie chickens and Labrador puppies in training to be service dogs. Additionally, locals and day visitors can access a menu of services available at the Sunrise Springs Spa including massage, body work, skin care, and private pools in the Ojitos outdoor soaking experience. Guests are also welcome to dine on farm-fresh cuisine seven days a week for lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch at the Blue Heron Restaurant, helmed by Executive Chef Rocky Durham. For more information on Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, visit sunrisesprings.com. ### ABOUT SALLY FISHER, MD: Dr. Fisher began her professional career by interning at the North Shore University Hospital/New York University School of Medicine. Subsequently, she completed her residency at Mt. Sinai/New York University School of Medicine in Preventative, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She also participated in a fellowship program in holistic Medicine at Columbia University School of Medicine. More recently, Dr. Fisher worked as an integrative medicine/preventive medicine clinic physician at the University of New Mexico Center for Life. Dr. Fisher also has a private practice in Albuquerque offering integrative, preventive and nutritional medicine. Dr. Fisher received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University summa cum laude. She then earned her M.D. at the University of New Mexico, where she received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Senior. Dr. Fisher earned her M.S. in Community Medicine at Mt. Sinai/New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Fisher is board certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine, the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine and the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists. Dr. Fisher is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. ABOUT MICHAEL SCHROEDER, LMFT: Schroeder received undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Printmaking from the University of California Santa Cruz and has strived to maintain the connection between art and psychology in his career and personal life. Michael studied graphic and furniture design at Parsons School of Design in NYC and trained as a yoga instructor at New York’s Integral Yoga. For many years, Michael worked as a fine artist specializing in printmaking, resin casting and woodwork with gallery representation in New York City and Santa Fe. Art led him back to psychology, particularly depth-related modalities and the work of Carl Jung, MD. Schroeder received his Master’s Degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute, graduating summa cum laude. He has worked extensively with couples and kids. His psychotherapy practice is solution-focused, combining art, myth, mindfulness and elements of Zen Buddhism to help individuals and couples evolve to greater self-knowledge. Schroeder is a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT) in California and New Mexico. About Sunrise Springs Spa Resort The only destination spa in enchanting Santa Fe, N.M., Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, is a tranquil natural springs sanctuary that has been a source of rejuvenation for centuries, weaving ancient wisdom and healing traditions with modern wellness. At the heart of the resort’s 70 acres is a sacred Medicine Wheel surrounded by 20 spacious casitas and 32 garden-view guest rooms; the new Ojitos, open-air soaking experience; a spa; greenhouse; yoga, fitness and expressive arts studios; puppy studio and chicken coop; and restaurant serving nourishing farm-fresh cuisine. A passionate team of credentialed wellness professionals guide guests to discover their unique path to creating harmony amongst the four aspects of wellbeing: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. All-inclusive offerings range from the one-night Refresh + Recharge package to multi-day Girls’ Getaways, Couples’ R+R, Wellness Exploration and Immerse + Thrive experiences. Guests can also visit the nearby historic sister property, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa just north of Santa Fe. Sunrise Springs is an Ojo Spa Resort.
News Article | May 19, 2017
Dr. Gordon Early with Wellness Family Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has received approval as a provider with multiple insurance plans. Spartanburg, SC, May 19, 2017 --( Dr Early has practiced medicine since 1988 and brought his medical expertise to Spartanburg in 1996. He trained in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University and Family Practice at the University of Colorado where he was a Chief Resident in each program. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Emory University, Medical Doctorate from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina. Wellness Family Medicine specializes in family medical care. We believe in the potential to prevent many of the illnesses that Americans experience through lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Our philosophy is to empower the patient by providing reliable information about prevention issues and primary care. Spartanburg, SC, May 19, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Wellness Family Medicine is proud to announce that on May 5, 2017 Dr. Gordon Early was approved as a provider with Multi Plan, PHCS, Mutual of Omaha, AARP, State Farm, Allstate, and other insurance companies. These approvals allow Dr. Early to provide family medical care to more residents in the Spartanburg area.Dr Early has practiced medicine since 1988 and brought his medical expertise to Spartanburg in 1996. He trained in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University and Family Practice at the University of Colorado where he was a Chief Resident in each program. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Emory University, Medical Doctorate from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina.Wellness Family Medicine specializes in family medical care. We believe in the potential to prevent many of the illnesses that Americans experience through lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Our philosophy is to empower the patient by providing reliable information about prevention issues and primary care. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Wellness Family Medicine
News Article | May 23, 2017
Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution is seemingly a direct cause of the type of DNA damage that is known as telomere shortening, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. Notably, young people with asthma also show evidence of telomere shortening, according to the researchers, meaning that: “Our results suggest that telomere length may have potential for use as a biomarker of DNA damage due to environmental exposures and/or chronic inflammation.” The research was focused around 14 children and adolescents residing in the second-most-polluted city in the US — that is to say, in Fresno, California. The press release provides details: “The researchers assessed the relationship between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a ‘ubiquitous’ air pollutant caused by motor vehicle exhaust; and shortening of telomeres, a type of DNA damage typically associated with aging. “As the exposure to PAHs increased, telomere length decreased in linear fashion. Children and teens with asthma were exposed to higher PAH levels than those without asthma. The relationship between PAH level and telomere shortening remained significant after adjustment for asthma and other factors (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) related to telomere length. “The study adds to previous evidence that air pollution causes oxidative stress, which can damage lipids, proteins, and DNA. Research has suggested that children may have different telomere shortening regulation than adults, which might make them more vulnerable to the damaging effects of air pollution.” John R Balmes, MD, of UC–Berkeley, and other report authors summarized: “Greater knowledge of the impact of air pollution at the molecular level is necessary to design effective interventions and policies.” Well, perhaps. But at this point it’s not actually news to anyone who doesn’t have their hands over their ears that the world’s growing air pollution problems are having a very negative effect on human health. So, it’s more a matter of political will at this point than of evidence. The new findings are detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Check out our new 93-page EV report. Join us for an upcoming Cleantech Revolution Tour conference! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | May 21, 2017
Children and teens exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution have evidence of a specific type of DNA damage called telomere shortening, reports a study in the May Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Young people with asthma also have evidence of telomere shortening, according to the preliminary research by John R. Balmes, MD, of University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues. They write, "Our results suggest that telomere length may have potential for use as a biomarker of DNA damage due to environmental exposures and/or chronic inflammation." The study included 14 children and adolescents living in Fresno, Calif. -- the second-most polluted city in the United States. The researchers assessed the relationship between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a "ubiquitous" air pollutant caused by motor vehicle exhaust; and shortening of telomeres, a type of DNA damage typically associated with aging. As the exposure to PAHs increased, telomere length decreased in linear fashion. Children and teens with asthma were exposed to higher PAH levels than those without asthma. The relationship between PAH level and telomere shortening remained significant after adjustment for asthma and other factors (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) related to telomere length. The study adds to previous evidence that air pollution causes oxidative stress, which can damage lipids, proteins, and DNA. Research has suggested that children may have different telomere shortening regulation than adults, which might make them more vulnerable to the damaging effects of air pollution. "Greater knowledge of the impact of air pollution at the molecular level is necessary to design effective interventions and policies," Dr. Balmes and coauthors conclude. With further research, telomeres could provide a new biomarker to reflect the cellular-level effects of exposure to air pollution. Telomeres might also provide new insights into the understanding how pollution exposure leads to adverse health outcomes.
News Article | May 2, 2017
WASHINGTON (May 2, 2017) - Some scientific reports have a profound impact on government policy. Sometimes, however, there are significant shortcomings in the research - yet the policy impact continues. Critically analyzing scientific research that underlies regulatory decision making and generating new information to ensure decisions are based on sound science are crucial. A recent analysis by Checkoway et al. has been awarded the Kammer Merit in Authorship Award for its review of the data from a critical epidemiological study used by scientific agencies to assess health risk from formaldehyde exposure. The findings from Checkoway et al call into question the original study's conclusions; the analysis further demonstrates the importance of data availability, research reproducibility and adherence to study design when drawing scientific conclusions. The Kammer Merit in Authorship Award recognizes an outstanding scientific contribution published in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM's) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) during a given year. The winning paper, titled Formaldehyde Exposure and Mortality Risks from Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Other Lymphohematopoietic Malignancies in the US National Cancer Institute Cohort Study of Workers in Formaldehyde Industries, concluded that there is no epidemiological evidence from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cohort supporting an association between formaldehyde exposure and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The award was announced late last week. "The findings from this analysis do not support a finding that formaldehyde exposure is a cause of leukemia," said Harvey Checkoway, Ph.D., lead author of the reanalysis and Professor of Family Medicine & Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. "This reanalysis identifies how critical data interpretation is, given that the risk assessments that rely on these analyses ultimately set occupational and environmental exposure standards." Checkoway and his colleagues performed analyses of raw data in an attempt to replicate findings reported from a NCI cohort mortality study of workers from 10 US plants producing or using formaldehyde. The NCI study has been influential in the classification of formaldehyde as a human leukemogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP). In the original analysis NCI investigators defined "peak" exposure to formaldehyde on a relative basis with respect to individual workers' exposures histories. This complicates data interpretations. Using this definition, analyses of updated mortality data for the NCI cohort reported tentative associations of "peak" exposures with myeloid leukemia (ML) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) that are inconsistent with other studies. The new research found no association between acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cumulative, average or frequency of "peak" exposures. This became clear in the new analysis where AML and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) were evaluated separately, as two types of leukemia are different diseases and have different risk factors. The award-winning Checkoway et al. study conducted more comprehensive analyses of associations of specific lymphohematopoietic malignancies (LHM), especially AML, with peak exposure, using a standard definition of peak exposure. Peak was defined in terms of absolute exposure dose and duration, which permitted direct comparisons among similar studies, strengthening the analysis. Checkoway et al. concluded that no clear associations for peak or cumulative formaldehyde exposures were observed in this cohort for any of the specific LHM, including AML The result of this analysis adds to the weight of evidence that formaldehyde exposure in the workplace does not cause AML, the LHM of greatest concern. It also underscores the need to ensure new information is effectively considered and incorporated into chemical assessments by IARC, NTP and other agencies. "Having this work recognized by ACOEM as a significant contribution in occupational medicine shows how important these findings are to understanding and interpreting the formaldehyde science," said Kimberly White, Ph.D., Senior Director of the American Chemistry Council Formaldehyde Panel. To learn more, view this fact sheet or visit americanchemistry.com/formaldehyde. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $797 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for fourteen percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
News Article | February 28, 2017
Other means besides a registry should be developed to evaluate potential health effects of military burn pits' toxic emissions on exposed service members; data from burn pit registry could be used for other purposes WASHINGTON - Inherent features of registries that rely on voluntary participation and self-reported information make them fundamentally unsuitable for determining whether emissions from military burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in Southwest Asia caused health problems in service members who were exposed to them, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit (AH&OBP) Registry provides a forum for collecting and recording information on those who choose to participate, a more rigorous and appropriate approach is needed to examine the relationship between the exposures and health outcomes, such as a well-designed epidemiologic study. A previous report by the former Institute of Medicine [now part of the National Academies] found inconclusive evidence on the health effects of exposure to military burn pits and contained advice and recommendations on how a study might be conducted. For some time, the disposal of trash on military bases through open-air burn pits exposed service personnel deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in Southwest Asia to airborne particulate matter and other potential health hazards, which in turn raised concerns about acute and chronic health consequences in these individuals. In 2013, Congress gave the VA one year to create a registry that would acquire exposure and health information on service members and veterans who may have been exposed to airborne hazards during deployment -- such as smoke from burn pits, oil-well fires, dust storms, or pollution. The VA developed an ambitious program to enroll volunteer participants and created the AH&OBP Registry. In response to a congressional mandate, the VA asked the National Academies to analyze the initial months of data collected by the registry and offer recommendations on ways to improve the instrument and the information it collects. Registries are structured systems for collecting and maintaining data on a group of people characterized by a specific disease, condition, exposure, or event as a means to facilitate research, monitor health, or provide information to registrants. Registries that rely on voluntary involvement and self-reported information on exposures and health outcomes are not suitable for assessing the health effects of exposure due to respondents' selective participation, inaccurate recall, or inadvertent or intentional under- or overestimation. Thus, they are an intrinsically poor source of information on exposures, health outcomes, and possible associations among these events, said the committee that carried out the study and wrote the report. Even under the best of circumstances, there are substantial limits to the accuracy of the data they collect and -- when the respondents make up only a small, unrepresentative fraction of the eligible population -- to the generalizability of analyses made with them. The committee stressed that even a well-designed and executed registry would have little value as a scientific tool for health-effects research and would not be an effective substitute for an epidemiologic study. The committee concluded that given the inherent weaknesses, the best use of the AH&OBP Registry is as a means for the eligible population to document their concerns of health problems that may have resulted from their service, bring those concerns to the attention of VA and their health care providers, and supply VA with a roster of people who are interested in burn pit exposure issues. The gathered data could also potentially be used to stimulate and inform new research, such as a well-designed epidemiologic study. The committee recommended that VA's messaging be explicit about the capabilities and limitations of the registry to ensure that participants and others do not form unrealistic expectations. The registry questionnaire collects a number of pieces of information -- including self-reported signs, symptoms, and diseases -- that can alert providers to concerns and problems that may be forgotten or missed during clinical encounters, without regard to whether the information might be relevant to wartime exposures. For example, someone who reported difficulty walking long distances or climbing stairs might be experiencing joint pain, respiratory problems, vascular disease with congestive heart fail¬ure, obesity, or even anxiety. The committee recommended that the VA develop a concise version of a participant's responses that can be downloaded and discussed with a health care provider. If the VA chooses to use the registry for the purposes for which is it most suitable, the committee recommended several changes to the questionnaire to improve and streamline participation. Beyond the inherent weaknesses of voluntary, self-report registries, the committee identified correctable features in the registry's structure and operation as well as in the questions that are asked and the way they are asked. For example, the questionnaire fails to ask questions that could yield improved information related to relevant exposures, such as non-burn pit trash burning, and requires respondents to complete a sometimes lengthy set of repetitive questions regarding deployments before addressing core issues like health. The cumulative effect of these flaws is evidenced by the high percentage of respondents who initiated but did not complete the instrument and the number of questions that had high non-response rates. The VA should eliminate the questionnaire sections that collect information that cannot be productively used in studies appropriate for the registry's data. A 2015 VA report indicated that nearly 40 percent of those who began filling out an AH&OBP Registry questionnaire did not complete it. This is an outcome that should be examined more fully, the committee said. It recommended that the VA evaluate whether and how registrants who did not complete the questionnaire differ from those who did; analyze the determinants of non-completion; and use this information to formulate strategies that encourage registrants to finish and submit their responses as well as improve the completion rate for future participants. An examination of the questionnaire data made available to the committee showed that registry participants who reported more exposures of all types also tended to report more health problems of all types. However, the committee's analyses suggested that such results may be a consequence of the population's selection and the limitations of the self-reported exposure and disease data and do not provide useful information for assessing the health effects of exposure. The committee emphasized that it reached this determination based on the nature of the registry and the data it collects and would have drawn the same conclusion if no or weak associations between the exposures and health outcomes had been found. More generally, the AH&OBP Registry's data collection, administration, and management efforts could be improved by developing a plan to more fully integrate relevant VA and U.S. Department of Defense data sources with the registry's data, as well as offering alternative means of completing the questionnaire, such as a mail-in form or via a computer-assisted phone interview, to ensure that the subset of eligible persons who do not use or have difficulty using the Internet have the opportunity to participate in the registry. The study was sponsored by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit http://national-academies. . A roster follows. Copies of Assessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry are available from the National Academies Press at http://www. or by calling 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). Health and Medicine Division Board on the Health of Select Populations Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice David A. Savitz, Ph.D., M.D.* (chair) Vice President for Research, Professor of Epidemiology, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Brown University Providence, R.I. Vinicius C. Antão, Ph.D. Director of Patient Registries HealthCare Research Institute Hospital for Special Surgery New York City Jane E. Clougherty, M.Sc., Sc.D. Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Dornsife School of Public Health Drexel University Philadelphia Montserrat Fuentes, Ph.D. Dean of College of Humanities and Sciences Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond Cecile S. Rose, M.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences National Jewish Health Denver David H. Trump, M.D. Chief Deputy Commissioner for Public Health and Preparedness Virginia Department of Health (retired) Richmond Mark J. Utell, M.D. Professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine, and Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, N.Y.
News Article | November 10, 2016
The Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) has concluded one of its strongest legislative advocacy sessions in California in recent years, helping enact five bills in the state benefiting the practice of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) there. WOEMA, which represents physicians who practice in California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Hawaii, took strong positions on ten bills affecting OEM during the California Legislature’s 2016 session. Of the six bills it supported actively, five were enacted into law. Of the four bills it actively opposed, none were enacted. Among the bills enacted, which WOEMA had actively supported, were measures to streamline Utilization Review in workers’ compensation cases (Senate Bill 1160), a measure to create a Cal/OSHA standard for indoor heat exposure (Assembly Bill 1045), and a bill creating a “Physician Wellness” program for the state—aimed at providing help for physicians struggling with substance abuse (Senate Bill 1177). Among the bills WOEMA successfully opposed were measures that would have thwarted expert medical judgment in apportionment matters and weakened evidence-based approaches to the care of low back pain. “WOEMA can be happy about its successful legislative track record this year,” said WOEMA President Robert C. Blink MD, MPH, FACOEM. “Our Legislative Committee worked hard to deliver results that are good for patients and help ensure safer, healthier workplaces.” Toward the end of the legislative session WOEMA released a white paper entitled: “Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement in the California Workers’ Compensation System: A Focus on Utilization Review and Beyond.” The paper focuses squarely on finding ways to prevent delays in treatment by improving the process for providers requesting treatment and agents conducting utilization review. WOEMA lobbyist Don Schinske said it’s possible some of the paper’s suggestions could be incorporated during the rule-making process for Senate Bill 1160, which pertains to utilization review and lien filing. "For example, Senate Bill 1160 requires accreditation for utilization review processes by July 1, 2018 and we think there is ample room within the workers’ compensation system to start adding quality metrics which is where WOEMA is focusing its efforts in the year ahead,” Schinske said. About WOEMA: The mission of the Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA is to promote and protect the health of people at work and in their environment through preventive service, clinical care, research, and evaluation. WOEMA provides educational activities that work to enhance the professional capabilities of occupational and environmental medicine health care providers, and promote their life-long learning. WOEMA members are committed to assuring a safe work place, minimizing worker injury and illness, and serving as leaders, educators, collaborators and facilitators in preventing and resolving marketplace health problems. WOEMA is a regional component of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), and is dedicated to high quality medical care and ethical principles governing the practice of occupational medicine. To learn more, please visit http://www.woema.org.
News Article | February 8, 2017
Jobs that involve carrying heavy loads — with effects seen stronger among overweight, obese, and older women — and working night or rotating shifts could reduce a woman’s fertility, a new study has warned. A team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health made a link between reproductive capacity and these occupational factors, but the underlying cause remains unknown. Yet women who are in a reproductive age and are actively trying to conceive should consider these findings, according to the researchers. The team studied almost 500 women who sought infertility treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2004 to 2015, and compared their jobs’ physical demand and schedules against four specific biomarkers, or genes in the body, associated with fecundity or the ability to reproduce. These biomarkers are the number of immature eggs in the body and mature eggs that can develop into healthy embryos, as well as levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen. The results: the heavier the lifting or moving of heavy objects at work, the lower the amount of antral follicles and eggs. Those who reported lifting heavy objects had 8.8 percent fewer eggs and 14.1 percent fewer mature eggs versus those who never lifted or moved heavy stuff around. This was discovered more pronounced among subjects who were overweight, obese, and ages 37 and above. Working at night or on rotating shifts, too, also appeared inversely related to the number of eggs. The team speculated it may be related to the disruption of one’s body clock or circadian rhythm. "Our study is the first to show that occupational heavy lifting and non-day shifts may be adversely affecting egg production and quality, rather than accelerating ovarian aging,” explained senior author Audrey Gaskins in a statement, also pointing to a disrupted stress-response system brought about by factors like obesity. Reproductive endocrinologist Channa Jayasena, who was not part of the study, said that the study was interesting but there should be a bigger sample size than the less than 500 used in the research. “You need a study in the thousands,” he told CNN, also citing the need to consider differences including socioeconomic status and testosterone levels in the women. Jayasena, however, agreed with the researchers that circadian rhythm may be at play in the differences found in shift work, with each body part — including the ovaries — having its own circadian rhythm. Previous research has reflected the potential ills of shift work, including a greater risk of obesity and heart disease. The findings were discussed Feb. 7 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. A separate study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) pinpointed obesity as a factor influencing a couple’s ability to conceive. It showed that if both the partners are obese, then the couple may take almost 55 percent to 59 percent more time to conceive compared to non-obese couples. In most cases, obesity is tied to less successful fertility treatments. Thus experts are urged to make couples conscious of body compositions and weight issues that affect pregnancy during counseling sessions. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 28, 2017
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lori Michener, PhD, PT, ATC, SCS, FAPTA, a member of MedRisk’s International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), has been elected vice president of the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). ISAB is an elite panel of world-renowned specialists in physical medicine, diagnostic imaging and workers’ compensation who oversee all clinical aspects of MedRisk’s medical management programs. Dr. Michener is the director of clinical outcomes and research in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. She also oversees USC’s Clinical Biomechanics and Orthopedics Outcomes Research program, known as COOR, and is a professor in its Physical Therapy department. Her expertise is in musculoskeletal shoulder pain biomechanics, shoulder and cervical pain diagnosis and treatment, shoulder and cervical disorder clinical trial research, and the use of patient-rated outcomes measurement tools to assess health-related quality of life. Dr. Michener has served on several professional panels for such healthcare organizations as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as well as APTA and ISAB. MedRisk is the leader in physical rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging solutions for the workers’ compensation industry. Founded in 1994 and based in King of Prussia, Pa., MedRisk is accredited under URAC for utilization management and has successfully completed a SSAE 16 Type II examination. MedRisk’s programs deliver savings and operational efficiencies that are significantly greater than traditional programs. Customers include insurance carriers, self-insured employers, third-party administrators, state funds, and case management companies. To make a referral or obtain more information, visit www.medrisknet.com or call 800-225-9675.