A combined epidemiological and clinical study of vibration-induced white finger (VWF) was carried out involving 115 men in four fluorspar mines. The overall prevalence of VWF was found to be 50% among 42 vibration-exposed subjects, while that of constitutional white finger (CWF) was 5-6% in all men studied. The VWF latent interval was 1-19 years with a mean of 5-6 years. An association was observed between the exposure time and VWF stages which included 18 men in Stage 0, three in the intermediate Stage of 0T/0N, five in Stage 2 and 16 in Stage 3; no men were seen at Stage 1. Among those with VWF in Stage 3, the index, middle and ring fingers were affected in both hands and the little fingers and thumbs were last to be involved. Clinically, on general examination, apart from vibration-induced white finger, the men in the 'vibration' group were not as healthy as those in the 'control' group. The circumference of the index fingers was not significantly different for the different groups. Neurological tests showed that the ridge test and, to a lesser extent, the two-point discrimination and the light touch tests, could be regarded as useful for the diagnosis of VWF.
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