Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Welders may be at increased risk for brain damage

08.04.2011
Workers exposed to welding fumes may be at increased risk of damage to the same brain area harmed by Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Fumes produced by welding contain manganese, an element that scientists have linked to neurological problems including Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms.

“In the United States alone, there are more than 1 million workers who perform welding as a part of their jobs,” says Brad Racette, MD, professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. “If further investigation of this potential link between neurotoxic effects and these fumes proves it is valid, it would have a substantial public-health impact for the U.S. workforce and the economy.”

The study appears online April 6, 2011, in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 20 welders with no symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, 20 people with Parkinson’s disease who were not welders and 20 people who were not welders and did not have Parkinson’s. The welders were recruited from two shipyards and one metal fabrication company, and each had an average of 30,000 hours of lifetime welding exposure.

All participants were given brain PET and MRI scans and motor skills tests. A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders also examined all participants. The welders' average blood manganese levels were found to be two times the upper limits of normal blood manganese levels established in prior studies of general populations.

In one area of the brain, PET scans indicated that welders had an average 11.7 percent reduction in a marker of the chemical dopamine compared to people who did not weld. Dopamine helps nerve cells communicate and is decreased in specific brain regions in people with Parkinson’s disease. The welders’ motor skills test scores also showed mild movement difficulties that were not as extensive as those found in the early Parkinson’s disease patients.

Although the same area of the brain was affected as in Parkinson’s disease, the pattern of effects within this area was reversed. Parkinson's disease normally has the greatest impact on the rear of a structure known as the putamen. In the welders, the largest drop in the marker for dopamine occurred in a structure behind the putamen known as the caudate.

“While these changes in the brain may be an early marker of neuron death related to welding exposure, the damage appeared to be different from those of people with full-fledged Parkinson’s disease,” Racette says. “MRI scans also revealed brain changes in welders that were consistent with manganese deposits in the brain.”

Racette and his colleagues plan a larger follow-up study to clarify the potential links between welding and brain damage.

Criswell SR, Perlmutter JS, Videen TO, Moerlein SM, Flores HP, Birke AM, Racette BA. Reduced uptake of [18F]FDOPA PET in asymptomatic welders with occupational manganese exposure. Neurology, online April 6, 2011.

Funding from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Clinical Science Translational Award, the Neuroscience Blueprint Grant, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Advanced Research Center at Washington University, the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the APDA, the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation supported this research.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Michael C. Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>