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Forestry workers exposed to vibration: a neurological study.
  1. M Färkkilä,
  2. I Pyykkö,
  3. V Jäntti,
  4. S Aatola,
  5. J Starck,
  6. O Korhonen
  1. Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Helsinki, Finland.


    Neurological findings were examined in 186 forestry workers with a mean exposure to chain saw vibration of 16.6 hours. The prevalence of active vibration induced white fingers was 5%, parethaesias of the hands 53%, and muscle weakness 13%. Clinical polyneuropathy was observed in 16 forestry workers in the hands (7.5%) which did not correlate with alcohol consumption. Seventy nine forestry workers of the total population were selected for electromyographic examination. Generalised EMG based polyneuropathy in the hands was observed in only two of the 79 forestry workers (2.5%). The carpal tunnel syndrome was found in 20 of the 79 forestry workers (26%). Headache and vertigo were not linked with exposure to vibration in forestry and a significant part of the numbness reported may be due to the carpal tunnel syndrome. Sensorimotor polyneuropathy is rare among forestry workers. The rise in the vibration detection thresholds was linked to the carpal tunnel syndrome.

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