[Reblog] Good News! A Workplace Wellness Vendor Saying You’re Sick Means You’re Probably Healthy | The Health Care Blog
From the 25 January 2014 blog item
Your wellness vendor says you are: But are you really sick?
Don’t take our for it that these workplace wellness programs are a complete and utter waste of your time and blood and your employer’s money, and can even generate medical treatments you don’t need. Do the arithmetic yourself. (The next paragraph does contain a little math but on the bright side if you can follow it, you can probably continue to live independently for at least a few more years.)
Assume a vendor finger-stick test that you get at your company’s “health fair” is 96 percent accurate. Further assume that vendors are seeking silent disorders that on average have a 1 percent prevalence. Do you suppose your odds of a false positive in those circumstances are 4 percent? To use a technical clinical term, nope. Out of 100 employees, the single employee who is actually afflicted with this disorder should test positive. Unfortunately, 4 of the other 99 will also test positive even though they are fine…because a 96%-accurate test is also 4%-inaccurate. This means of the 5 people who test positive, only 1 has the disorder—a false positive rate of 80 percent!
And that’s just on one test. With that kind of accuracy, it’s odds-on that if you get all the tests with all the frequencies that a wellness vendor recommends, at least one lab value will eventually be outside a normal range…and potentially thrust you into the treatment trap. The key to surviving this testing jihad without being trapped is–as with just about everything else in wellness–to start with the assumption that the vendor is wrong. This is a pretty safe bet. How safe? I don’t even know you, but if you tell me the sky is green and a wellness vendor profiled in this book tells me the sky is blue, I’d at least go look out the window.
Those false-positives make overdiagnosis (finding and treating maladies that don’t exist) the rule, not the exception.
Just had to repost this. Last week at the Area Office on Aging (where I volunteer 6 hours or so a week), one of my clients was a 70 year old woman. She voiced much of what the woman below said, including feeling unwelcome. And this after 30+ years with the company! Maybe all workplaces should have time to read and discuss the article below…Multigenerational Teams Work best.
Thank you Marti Weston, thank you.
Last Thursday, on the Washington DC Metro, a woman sitting in front of me spoke to a seat mate about ageism, a term first coined by Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA).
As I eavesdropped, the woman on the Metro spoke about comments from younger colleagues, the tendency of some to roll their eyes when she speaks, and remarks about her retirement, still about five years away if she waits until she is 65. “I feel so unwelcome,” she commented,” that sometimes I make jokes about my own retirement just to counteract what I hear.”
Yet as the conversation went on — my apologies for listening in — it was clear that this woman loved her job and was engaged in her work. Lots of people in their late 50s and 60’s can identify with this situation.
So I read with interest the November 10, 2013, Washington Post article, In an Era Plagued by Ageism, NIH Prizes Older Workers. Written by Post reporter Tara Bahrampour, the report details how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a work environment that accepts — and even celebrates — its older and veteran staff members. The article also includes a link to the AARP 2013 list of best employers for people over age 50.
A Few Interesting Excerpts
- This year, NIH topped AARP’s list of best employers for workers over 50, based on criteria including career development opportunities, workplace accommodations, flexible scheduling, job sharing and other employee benefits.
- NIH offers perks with particular appeal for older employees, including flexible work schedules, generous telecommuting policies, opportunities to mentor younger workers and fitness programs geared for older bodies.
- The benefits were not part of a master plan but rather something that evolved, said Phil Lenowitz, deputy director of NIH’s office of human resources.
- A big draw for scientists such as Waldmann is the ability to view a project in terms of decades, rather than years.
Read the entire article to learn much more.
A Few More Links Where You Can Learn About Ageism
- Dr. Robert Butler, Founding Director of the National Institute on Aging - July 2010, AsOurParentsAge
- Multigenerational Teams Work Best - June 2011, AsOurParentsAge
As summed up by Marti -
Two broad reasons that a variety of age groups work together well and produce better results are:
- Every generation has its blind spots so the different ages and perspective help to avoid problems and compensate for them.
- Each generation can shine based on individuals’ experience.
- Ageism in Action – September 2013, Huffington Post,
- Readers Offer Tales of Silicon Valley Ageism – August 2013, SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Ageism and Millennials – Part I and Part II - Dr. Bill Thomas’ Changing Aging blog
- Ageism in America – 2006, A PDF of a comprehensive report published by Dr. Robert Butler and the International Longevity Center (also founded by Dr. Butler).
- Raising Awareness about Ageism through Art ! (sharingconnection.wordpress.com)
- Ageism in the Workplace: A Growing Issue (mtannler.wordpress.com)
- Ageism: the Silent Killer (veteranstoday.com)
- Why the Tech Industry Needs to Deal With Its Ageism Problem (simplicity.laserfiche.com)
- Tapping into the Creative Potential of our Elders (3quarksdaily.com)
- Why Old Age Is Really Not For Sissies (agelessmarketing.typepad.com)
- Ageism: Its Effect On Seniors (awalker20099.wordpress.com)
Here in Toledo, Ohio my (Catholic) parish boundary includes a nearby state prison.
The bishop’s office redrew parish boundaries a few years back and decided our parish, three miles from the prison, includes the Catholics at Toledo Correctional Institution. Quite a challenge for us, we have about 100 “churchgoers” on the average Sunday, about 2/3 are over age 60. About 20 baptized Catholics (of an inmate population of 1,220) are registered within our parish.
We were encouraged to write the inmates. So I did. After about 3 letter exchanges, one asked me to visit him. So, after 3 weeks of pondering, I did. It really isn’t any big deal. Robb is very articulate and we do have some lively discussions in areas of politics, Catholic Church “hot topics”, and philosophy.
In the past year, four inmates have been murdered. at Toledo Correctional. Allegedly by other inmates. In Michigan, only one inmate was murdered in the whole state in the last year. The rise in violence is in tandem with increasing overcrowding, especially double bunking in cells designed for single occupancy.
I am including this item because overcrowding is a safety and (mental) health issue. The murders here at Toledo Correctional were in the higher security levels, Robb is in the lowest security level. Still, I cannot imagine how this is impacting Robb’s mental health.
Excerpts from the handbook
(I realize American prisons are probably better than the worst of the worst internationally, still, there is room for improvement)
In very diverse environments and over many years, the ICRC has witnessed first- hand the consequences of overcrowding on detainees and on the authorities. Indeed, overcrowding is an increasingly widespread problem in a number of countries and places of detention. In itself, it is a very serious humanitarian concern, as it auto- matically generates substandard and often inhumane conditions of detention. Tens of thousands of people are forced to live for extended periods in congested accom- modation, with insufficient space to move, sit or sleep. This seriously compromises the ability of the administration to fulfil detainees’ basic needs in terms of living conditions, medical care, legal aid and family visits. Being squeezed into cramped living quarters, often in appalling hygiene conditions and with no privacy, makes the experience of being deprived of freedom—already stressful in normal circumstances— exponentially worse. It erodes human dignity and undermines detainees’ physical and mental health, as well as their reintegration prospects. In addition to putting excessive strain on infrastructures, it heightens the potential for tensions and conflicts among detainees and with staff. It quickly leads to difficulties in maintaining good order within the prison, resulting in potentially severe consequences in terms of safety for the detainees, as well as in terms of supervision and security.
While the consequences are particularly grave for the men, women and children deprived of their liberty, they also affect the frontline staff whose job it is to protect and meet the needs of the detainees. Overwhelmed by excessive numbers and directly exposed to the frustration of the detainees without the resources needed to guarantee security or access to the most basic services, detention staff work in difficult condi- tions and are exposed to constant pressure and risk.
ICRC knows from experience that situations of overcrowding, once established, trig- ger a downward spiral which has a negative impact on the entire criminal justice system as a result of increasing congestion, staff demotivation and the development of parallel coping mechanisms or corruption.
3. Broader consequences of excessive imprisonment
The impact of overcrowding does not remain within the prison walls. It can have a detrimental impact on public health. The cost of the excessive use of imprisonment, which is a fundamental reason for prison overcrowding in countries worldwide (see chapter B), can be significant, increasing the poverty levels and socio-economic mar- ginalization of certain groups of people and reducing funds available for other spheres of government expenditure.
3.1 The cost of imprisonment
Numerous studies have shown that imprisonment disproportionately affects people living in poverty. When an income generating member of the family is imprisoned, the sudden loss of income can have a severe impact on the economic status of the rest of the family—especially so in low resource countries where the state does not usually provide financial assistance to the poor and where it is not unusual for one person to financially support an extended family network. When released, often with no prospects for employment due to their criminal record, former prisoners are generally subjected to socio-economic exclusion and are vulnerable to an endless cycle of poverty, marginalization, criminality and imprisonment. Thus, imprisonment contributes directly to the impoverishment of the prisoner and his or her family. Studies have also shown that children of parents who have been imprisoned are more likely to come into conflict with the law and that once detained, they are likely to be further criminalized. Thus the cycle is expanded, creating future victims and reducing future potential economic performance
- State report rips Toledo prison (toledoblade.com, 09/13/2013)
“A state committee on Thursday issued a harsh, lengthy inspection report of the Toledo Correctional Institution, citing significant increases in assaults, high employee-turnover rates, rampant drug trading, and three homicides reported there in the past year.The 164-page report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee shows that inmate-on-inmate assaults increased by nearly 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults increased nearly 74 percent from 2010 to 2012. The legislatively established committee monitors prison facilities, conducts unannounced inspections of prisons, and writes reports of their activities.”
“The prison has the highest staff turnover rate — 16.5 percent — of all prisons in the state, according to the report. Most staff resignations come while employees are being investigated, according to the report.
Toledo Correctional “has historically had challenges recruiting quality staff, particularly in health care,” the report states.
Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2013/09/13/State-report-rips-Toledo-prison.html#RzJGpLqojeJcCKFA.99
Prison’s acts failed to halt homicides (toledoblade.com)
- U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear California prison overcrowding case (mercurynews.com)
- Madagascar prison and ICRC work to battle plague by eliminating rats (theglobaldispatch.com)
- Supreme Court rejects California prison overcrowding appeal (sacbee.com)
- New Urban Institute report recommends policies to reduce federal prison growth (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Tim Robbins: Can Theater Help Solve California’s Prison Overcrowding Crisis? (huffingtonpost.com)
- For-Profit Prisons Are Big Winners Of California’s Overcrowding Crises (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Union warns of prison overcrowding (toledoblade.com)
- Looking for answers on overcrowded prisons (miamiherald.com)
Workaholics work hard, but still have poor job performance — mainly because of high mental and physical strain, according to a study in the November Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Alexander Falco, PhD, and colleagues of University of Padova, Italy, analyzed survey responses from a sample of more than 300 private-sector workers. Workaholism is defined as working excessively and working compulsively — workaholics “work hard, rather than smart.”
The workers in the study had “moderate” levels of workaholism overall. Workaholics showed evidence of high job strain, with physical and mental symptoms such as digestive, memory, and sleep problems.
In turn, high strain was associated with worse job performance — thus workaholism led indirectly to decreased performance, via increased mental and physical strain. After accounting for strain, there was no direct link between workaholism and job performance.
- Workaholism as a Risk Factor for Depressive Mood, Disabling Back Pain, and Sickness Absence (plosone.org)
- Are we a nation of workaholics? (telegraph.co.uk)
- How To Stop Being A Workaholic & Enjoy Life (madamenoire.com)
- ‘Workaholism’ becomes a clinical malady (suntimes.com)
- Are You Really A Workaholic? (psychologytoday.com)
- Forget the drink… do we Irish need Workaholics Anonymous? (deshocks.com)
Crying wolf: Who benefits and when?
A crisis at work can bring out the best in colleagues, often inspiring more cooperation and self-sacrifice. A new study from Indiana University and the University of Guelph has found the benefits are not shared equally, with higher-ranking group members having the most to gain by perceived threats to the group.
“Sociologists have known for a long time that groups tend to come together when they face adversity,” said social psychologist Stephen Benard, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington. “What our research highlights is that there is a downside to our tendency to stick together when things are tough — powerful group members can exploit that tendency to distract us from competing with them.”
The study, “Who cries wolf, and when? Manipulation of perceived threats to preserve rank in cooperative groups,” was published in the online journal Proceedings of the Library of Science One in September. Pat Barclay, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Guelph in Canada is the co-author.
Benard and Barclay tested their theories by creating three-person groups and having them play a cooperative group game in which people could pay money to increase the perception of threat to their group. They found that people with higher-ranking positions paid more to manipulate the threat and the action helped maintain their privileged positions.
“With this approach, we find people in high-ranking positions are more likely to manipulate apparent threats when their position is precarious, compared to when it is secure,” Benard said.
But this doesn’t mean the next crisis at work is a ploy by the boss to boost her job security. Social science predictions involve the average person, in general, not specific people or situations.
“When groups face potential threats, it’s important to judge those threats carefully,” Benard said. “On one hand, you want to be alert to the fact that other group members might have an incentive to exaggerate the threat. On the other hand, it’s also important not to underestimate threats that could be real.”
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the Minerva Initiative of the U.S. department of Defense and the Cornell University Institute for Social Sciences.
Release Date: 09/09/2013
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, Milbourn.email@example.com, 202-564-7849, 202-564-4355
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.”
The ChemView web tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. The search tool combines available TSCA information and provides streamlined access to EPA assessments, hazard characterizations, and information on safer chemical ingredients. Additionally, the new web tool allows searches by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. It has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. The new portal will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory.
In the months ahead, EPA will be continuously adding additional chemicals, functionality and links. When fully updated, the web tool will contain data for thousands of chemicals. EPA has incorporated stakeholder input into the design, and welcomes feedback on the current site.
By increasing health and safety information, as well as identifying safer chemical ingredients, manufacturers and retailers will have the information to better differentiate their products by using safer ingredients.
In 2010, EPA began a concerted effort to increase the availability of information on chemicals as part of a commitment to strengthen the existing chemicals program and improve access and usefulness of chemical data and information. This included improving access to the TSCA inventory, issuing new policies for the review of confidential business information claims for health and safety studies, and launching the Chemical Data Access Tool. Today’s launch of the ChemView provides the public with a single access point for information that has been generated on certain chemicals regulated under TSCA.
View and search ChemView: http://www.epa.gov/chemview
- Web tool expands access to scientific, regulatory chemical information (rdmag.com)
- EPA Web Tool Expands Access to Scientific, Regulatory Information on Chemicals (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- EPA Web Tool Expands Access To Scientific, Regulatory Information On Chemicals (wateronline.com)
- EPA Web Tool Helps Manufacturers Choose Safer Chemicals (environmentalleader.com)
- Reference: EPA Web Tool Expands Access to Scientific, Regulatory Information on Chemicals (infodocket.com)
- Highlights of EPA’s Online Chemical Database (learnatvivid.wordpress.com)
- Commercial Appraiser; FW: News Release: EPA Web Tool Expands Access to Scientific, Regulatory Information on Chemicals (commercialappraiser.typepad.com)
Always thought it was best to focus on one thing at a time….
From the 8 August 2013 article at Higher Ed Jobs by Kelly A. Cherwin, Communications Editor, HigherEdJobs
Although I did turn off my cell phone, I attended the recent ACUHO-I conference session eating my yogurt and drinking a cup of coffee as I was taking notes on why most people are not efficient at multi-tasking. This is why I’m sharing tips from the presentation: “I’m Really Good at Multi-tasking” – No You Are Not!
Many people feel that if they multi-task, they can be more efficient and effective. However, the truth is that most people don’t do it well and often times the quality of each task completed may decrease. As discussed by the presenter, Cathy Bickel from Ball State University, a study by Microsoft found that it takes an employee an average of 15 minutes to return their attention back to the previous task when distracted by email, instant message, etc. If a person is in a meeting and then decides they must return a text message, they are no longer really focusing on the meeting details. They are physically sitting in the meeting, but they are not present because their attention is diverted to the text and then later more time is spent focusing their attention back to the meeting. Someone is on a phone call and then suddenly hears the “ding” of new emails in their inbox. They check the emails, while still talking on the phone but again, their attention is diverted from the phone call as well as possibly missing details in the emails. Examples of inefficient multi-tasking are plentiful. So, what is the answer? In most non-urgent cases, it is better to complete one task with one’s full attention and then move on to the next. Yes, the definition of urgent is subjective but most professionals should be able to distinguish between something urgent and the newest funny picture of a cat.
As Bickel mentioned, attention is a more limited resource than time and people need to manage their attention in order to be more productive. Here are strategies on how to manage attention and be more efficient without multi-tasking:
- Prioritize the day. Try to schedule the most important tasks in the morning. Don’t move on to next task until the first one is complete. Having a to-do list of these necessary tasks is a must.
- Consider time periods. Similar to what is encountered in school or in a sporting event, block the day into time periods. Work through these specific time periods accomplishing set tasks without allowing for interruptions. Schedule a bit of downtime in between periods for a breather or to take care of an urgent matter that may arise.
- Remove negative attention. For example, turn off the phone during the meeting or set incoming message alerts to mute while on a phone call.
- Don’t constantly fill the white space. There isn’t a need for technology all of the time. While waiting in line at the store or for the train, don’t always check the phone. Enjoy the surroundings!
- Invest attention in high returns. Consider eliminating “non-essential” websites and only check your favorites like HigherEdJobs.com or others once a day.
- Prevent distractions. Close the door if it is apparent that people or other noise will constantly be causing interruptions.
- Discuss boundaries. Let friends and family know when it is appropriate to be contacted at work. If there is an illness, “yes” but to ask what is for dinner is a “no.”
- Share commitments with others. If you tell people that you are not going to look at your emails the entire night, they can help hold you accountable.
It is not breaking news that we live in a chaotic world and often are forced to juggle many roles. But if we could all take a few minutes to slow down and truly focus on the task at hand (the meeting, an email, a co-worker, your family), both efficiency and effectiveness will follow even without multi-tasking.
- “Hung Up” (crossfit810.typepad.com)
- Multi-tasking or decreasing quality? (timesunion.com)
- My Surprisingly Serene Smartphone-Free Day (theclearparent.com)
- Laptops in class lower students’ grades, study says (thestar.com)
- Multi-Tasking is Destroying Productivity and Creating Stress (CraigPeterson.com)
- 6 Tips To Help You Manage Your Time (businessinsider.com)
- Project Lists: 8 Steps to Crush Your Chaos (business2community.com)
Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.
This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.
- 14 Ways To Exercise At Work (nafriniselect.com)
- How to work out at work place (sweetsharing.wordpress.com)
- 25 Ways to Add 30 Minutes of Heart-Healthy Activity to Your Day (matthewkillorin.com)
- Top 10 List Of Health Infographics Top 10 Health Infographics (matthewkillorin.com)
- Infographic: How to Get 30 Minutes of Exercise at Your Desk. (millionideas.org)
Originally posted on Million Ideas:
Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.
This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.
[The]majority of influenza virus in the air samples analyzed was found in small particles during non-aerosol-generating activities up to a 6-foot distance from the patient’s head..
Vaccination of health providers remains a fundamental and key part of protecting them from influenza
A new study suggests that patients with influenza can emit small virus-containing particles into the surrounding air during routine patient care, potentially exposing health care providers to influenza. Published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, the findings raise the possibility that current influenza infection control recommendations may not always be adequate to protect providers from influenza during routine patient care in hospitals…
The current belief is that influenza virus is spread primarily by large particles traveling up to a maximum of 3 to 6 feet from an infected person. Recommended precautions for health providers focus on preventing transmission by large droplets and following special instructions during aerosol-generating procedures. In this study, Dr. Bischoff and his team discovered that the majority of influenza virus in the air samples analyzed was found in small particles during non-aerosol-generating activities up to a 6-foot distance from the patient’s head, and that concentrations of virus decreased with distance. The study addressed only the presence of influenza-containing particles near patients during routine care, not the actual transmission of influenza infection to others.
Fitted respirators are currently required for health care providers during aerosol-generating procedures with patients. During routine, non-aerosol-generating patient care, the current precautions recommend that providers wear a non-fitted face mask. Based on their findings, Dr. Bischoff and investigators are concerned that providers may still be exposed to infectious dosages of influenza virus up to 6 feet from patients with small wide-spreading particles potentially exceeding the current suggested exposure zones.
These findings suggest that current infection control recommendations may need to be reevaluated, the study authors concluded. The detection of “super-emitters” raises concerns about how individuals with high viral load may impact the spread of influenza, they noted. “Our study offers new evidence of the natural emission of influenza and may provide a better understanding of how to best protect health care providers during routine care activities,” the study authors wrote. However, studies of influenza virus transmission will be necessary before the role of super-emitters can be firmly established, they noted…
Whatever protective equipment or infection control practices are used for preventing influenza transmission, vaccination of health providers remains a fundamental and key part of protecting them from influenza, noted Dr. William Schaffner, professor medicine and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., who was not involved with the study. “Influenza vaccination, although not perfect, is the best tool we have to protect health care workers — and their patients — from influenza illness.
- Health care providers may be at greater risk of flu exposure (eurekalert.org)
- Stand Back: Flu Virus Travels 6 Feet (livescience.com)
- People with flu can release small, flu-filled particles into air: Study (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
- 2012-13 Influenza vaccine effectiveness: a preliminary estimate (bio230fall2010.wordpress.com)
Over the years I’ve noticed quite a few middle aged women who burned out.
Far from being an indicator of personal failure, I am now seeing burn out at least partially “caused” by work conditions.
Work conditions which are over controlling to the point of demeaning. Work conditions which do not recognize and build on the full range of employees talents.
Emotional exhaustion and physical and cognitive fatigue are signs of burnout, often caused by prolonged exposure to stress. Burnout can cause negative health effects including poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular and immune disorders. The findings of a 9-year study of burnout in middle-aged working women are reported in an article in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Journal of Women’s Healthwebsite.*….
“Burnout has been considered a predominantly work-related phenomenon, and, thus, high work demands, job strain, lack of control, and social support at work have been identified as psychosocial factors that contribute to stress and subsequently to burnout.7,22–24 Little research has been focused on the prevalence of work-related stress and burnout in the general working population, however, particularly among middle-aged women,25 as burnout has been studied most frequently in particular occupational groups, such as teachers and healthcare providers. Therefore, the present study is important by addressing this question and by investigating a random population-based sample of middle-aged women employed in various occupations, using a longitudinal approach”
“The present study is important because of our focus on a random sample of the general working population of middle-aged women. To a large extent, earlier research has focused on particular occupational groups, such as teachers or healthcare providers, and this age group of women has rarely been the focus of research concerning work stress and burnout. Another strength of our study is its longitudinal design, including three waves of measurements during a 9-year period. The majority of studies on burnout have been cross-sectional, and those with a longitudinal design mainly have used only two waves of measurements.”
Results: When using a variable-based approach, the results showed no significant changes in burnout over time. However, underlying these levels, six trajectories were identified. These clusters represented four different developmental patterns: high levels followed by recovery, increasing levels, increasing and diminishing levels, and stable levels.
Conclusions: In contrast to previous research suggesting that burnout is a stable construct over time, the present study identified distinct subgroups of women showing different developmental patterns of burnout during a 9-year period. Furthermore, our findings showed that the development of burnout was accompanied by concurrent changes in life stress as well as work-related and individual factors.”
This study rightly talks about an association between low wages and hypertension, not a cause/effect.
A public health issue that I hope is pursued at national and local levels.
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Workers earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to new research from UC Davis.
The correlation between wages and hypertension was especially strong among women and persons between the ages of 25 to 44.
“We were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for two populations not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male,” said J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis. “Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well.”
The study, published in the December issue of the European Journal of Public Health, is believed to be the first to isolate the role of wages in hypertension, which occurs when the force of circulating blood against artery walls is too high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. and costs more than $90 billion each year in health-care services, medications and missed work days. It also is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death and disability.
While there is a known association between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and hypertension, determining the specific reason for that association has been difficult, according to Leigh. Other researchers have focused on factors such as occupation, job strain, education and insurance coverage, with unclear results. Leigh’s study was the first to focus on wages and hypertension….
f there were 110 million persons employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 per year during the entire timeframe of the study — from 1999 until 2005 — then a 10 percent increase in everyone’s wages would have resulted in 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year,” said Leigh.
- Study links low wages with hypertension (universityofcalifornia.edu)
- Changes in the Prevalence, Treatment and Control of Hypertension in Germany? A Clinical-Epidemiological Study of 50.000 Primary Care Patients (plosone.org)
- High blood pressure damages the brain in early middle age (medicalxpress.com)
Thinking insecurities lead to sexist attitudes in other realms, including government, religious, and civic organizations….
A new study led by Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology, suggests that men’s insecurities about relationships and conflicted views of women as romantic partners and rivals could lead some to adopt sexist attitudes about women…
Hart’s study found that anxiously attached men tend to be ambivalent sexists – both hostile and benevolent – whereas avoidantly attached men typically endorse hostile sexism, while rejecting benevolent sexism.
“In other words, anxious men are likely to alternate between chivalry and hostility toward female partners, acting like a knight in shining armor when she fulfills his goals and ideals about women, but like an ogre when she doesn’t,” Hart explained this month to the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s web-based news site, Connections. “Avoidant men are likely to show only hostility without any princely protectiveness.”
The survey results also showed that anxiously attached men tend to be romantics at heart who adopt benevolently sexist beliefs, while avoidantly attached men lean toward social dominance. That, in turn, leads them to embrace hostile sexism.
The findings highlight how personality traits could predispose men to be sexists, according to Hart. This information could help couples build stronger relationships, particularly during therapy.
- Delusions of Gender: How Male Insecurity May Lead to Sexist Views (sciencedaily.com)
- The bad news is that gentlemanly behavior makes people happy (aei-ideas.org)
- How to Capture the Heart of a ‘German Female Student’ (andrewhammel.typepad.com)
- When Men on the Left Refuse to See Their Sexism (muslimreverie.wordpress.com)
- That’s not a “response”, Michael, it’s a “denial” (freethoughtblogs.com)
- Big Idea: Let’s Bring Back Gentlemen (or Even Chivalry) (bigthink.com)
- Top Conservative Author Endorses ‘Benevolent Sexism’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Undead sexist cliches: Men are supposed to be heroes, women should just cringe and cry (frasersherman.wordpress.com)
- Death to Chivalry, Long Live Politeness! (jezebel.com)
- A Troubled Response. (thisisntitatall.wordpress.com)
[Reblog] From the 25 November 2012 post at Scot Nass MD’s blog
From Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Beef and dairy farmers are more likely to suffer from numbness and weakness, characteristics of peripheral neuropathy, compared with farmers who do not work with animals, according to new analysis of 16,340 participants of the Agricultural Health Study. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the common intestinal bacteria Campylobacter jejuni leads to greater risk of symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Guillain-Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to muscle and nerve damage; it has no clear origin, although it usually appears after a minor infection. Dairy farmers also had a significantly higher prevalence of blurred vision, compared with farmers who had no exposure to animals.
Vegosen L, Davis MF, Silbergeld E, et al. Neurologic symptoms associated with cattle farming in the Agricultural Health Study. J Occup Environ Med. 2012;54:1253-1258. (12/13/12)
- Exposure to Animal Agriculture Increases Prevalence of Nerve Damage (foodconsumer.org)
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt probably didn’t have polio after all (io9.com)
Take A Break by LearnStuff.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.learnstuff.com/take-a-break/.
- Blogging and Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) AKA Digital Eye Strain (onecoolsitebloggingtips.com)
- Computer Eye Strain Explained (and How to Avoid It) (greatist.com)
- Computer Vision Syndrome (stevenadunn.wordpress.com)
- How to Prevent Eye Damage from Excessive Computer Use (youngworkathomemoms.wordpress.com)
- Keep Computer and Smartphone Screens from Destroying Your Eyes [Health] (lifehacker.com)
- Eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome (visionmd.org)
- Two-thirds of adults report digital eye strain (virginiabusiness.com)
Yes, this is just anecdotal, but I believe there is more to this than an either/or debate.
My husband took high blood pressure medicine for years. And he often complained about the stress at work.
Within a month of changing jobs to an organization that was less stressful, his blood pressure went down and he no longer needed the blood pressure medication.
Some bad news for workers facing stress on the job and elsewhere in their life, suggested by 2 studies published this week: stress may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and may impair short-term memory.
Workers who encounter substantial demands at work and have little control over their situations have an elevated risk of developing heart disease compared with individuals who don’t have to face such psychological stress in the workplace, according to results of an analysis published in the Lancet yesterday…
Stress may also impair an individual’s performance, a study published in PLOS Computational Biology suggests. The researchers found that exposure of rats to stress in the form of blasts of sound alter the firing of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. These changes in firing impair the ability of rats to retain short-term memory, hampering their performance in a maze task. Animals under stress completed the task only about 65% of the time compared with 90% of the unstressed rats.
Don’t Blame Your Employer If You Are Feeling Stressed By Your Job
Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genes than you might think, according to research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. This information has been published two days after a separate study suggesting that work stress increases an employee’s risk of heart attack by 23%.
The lead author of “Genetic influences on core self-evaluations, job satisfaction, work stress, and employee health: A behavioral genetics mediated model,” published inOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Judge studied nearly 600 twins – some identical, some fraternal – who were raised together and reared apart. He found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment.
- Stress breaks loops that hold short-term memory together (scienceblog.com)
- Stress Breaks Loops that Hold Short-Term Memory Together (neurosciencenews.com)
- Stress breaks loops that hold short-term memory together (eurekalert.org)
- Stress breaks loops that hold short-term memory together (sciencedaily.com)
- Job Stress Linked To Heart Disease Risk (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Expert Explains Why Workplace Stress Is Killing All Of Us (businessinsider.com)
- Stress-Induced Impairment of a Working Memory Task: Role of Spiking Rate and Spiking History Predicted Discharge (ploscompbiol.org)
- Workers at Fukushima feel the pressure of blame (newscientist.com)
- How Stress Makes Us Lose Sight of Our Goals (livescience.com)
- Being bossed around at work ‘raises risk of heart attack by 23%’ (dailymail.co.uk)
Hard Questions For Medical Humanitarian Organizations Provoked By Adverse Effects Of Mining Industry
Increasingly humanitarian organizations will find themselves responding to health emergencies provoked by the adverse effects of mining and other extractive industries, setting up a potential clash to do with the core principles and values at the heart of humanitarian medicine, writes Philippe Calain from the humanitarian medical organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), in this week’s PLOS Medicine.
“A pragmatic approach of engagement with the corporate sector for the delivery of aid, or an implicit support to mainstream development agendas could compromise the legitimacy of humanitarian medicine,” argues Calain. He continues, “A principled understanding of humanitarian medicine entails selfless moral commitments that are incompatible with the for-profit objectives of corporate industries.”
Drawing on MSF’s experience responding to the “worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history” resulting from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, Calain explores the pitfalls, difficult alliances, and challenges medical humanitarian organizations must navigate in confronting the dire health consequences resulting from extractive industries, whether informal, illegal, or sanctioned.
He argues that, in developing countries, extractive industries (including ore mineral mining and oil extraction) have far reaching consequences on health through environmental pollution, communicable diseases, violence, destitution, and compromised food security. While humanitarian organisations might be called to intervene in areas occupied by the extractive sector, Calain argues that oil and mineral exploitation reveals a fundamental clash of values between humanitarianism, the for-profit sector, and privatised global philanthropy.
Operating in this relatively new terrain for medical humanitarian organizations – outside the traditional humanitarian response to armed conflict, epidemics, and natural disasters – requires a deeper examination of which types of compromises and alliances are acceptable. Responding to these kinds of emergencies, warns Calain, cannot be reduced to the development of medical and technical expertise alone….
- Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations (medicalxpress.com)
- What Is the Relationship of Medical Humanitarian Organisations with Mining and Other Extractive Industries? (zedie.wordpress.com)
Disruptions to the circadian rhythm can affect the growth of blood vessels in the body, thus causing illnesses such asdiabetes, obesity, and cancer, according to a new study from Linkoping University and Karolinska Institutet.
The circadian rhythm is regulated by a “clock” that reacts to both incoming light and genetic factors.
In an article now being published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, it is demonstrated for the first time that disruption of the circadian rhythm immediately inhibits blood vessel growth in zebra fish embryos.
Professor Yihai Cao leads a research group, which has demonstrated that the breaking point is the production of a very important signalling substance: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The formation of this substance requires a normal circadian rhythm…
“The results can definitely be translated into clinical circumstances. Individuals with disrupted circadian rhythms – for example, shift workers who work under artificial lights at night, people with sleep disorders or a genetic predisposition – should be on guard against illnesses associated with disrupted blood vessel growth,” says Lasse Dahl Jensen (pictured), researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology at Linköping University (LiU), and lead writer of the article.
Such diseases include heart attack, stroke, chronic inflammation, and cancer. Disruptions in blood vessel growth can also affect foetal development, women’s reproductive cycles, and the healing of wounds.
- Living Against the Clock: Does Loss of Daily Rhythms Cause Obesity? (sott.net)
- Living against the clock: Does loss of daily rhythms cause obesity? (eurekalert.org)
- iPads, Tablets Can Wreak Havoc on Sleep Patterns (atlantablackstar.com)
- The Four Pillars of Getting Sleep (theepochtimes.com)
- Artificial light and obesity epidemic: Is there a link? (junkscience.com)
- Molecular Link Between Circadian Clock Disturbances And Inflammatory Diseases (prn.fm)
- The Circadian Advantage: How Sleep Patterns Benefit Certain NFL Teams [Sleep] (deadspin.com)
- Get in touch with your inner rhythm (mariahsbutterflyz.wordpress.com)
- Experts Believe Festive Break Could Cause Misaligned Circadian Rhythm (prweb.com)
Now I understand the sign outside a co-worker’s cubicle….Please do not disturb now, I am thinking…
As each day passes, the pace of life seems to accelerate — demands on productivity continue ever upward and there is hardly ever a moment when we aren’t, in some way, in touch with our family, friends, or coworkers. While moments for reflection may be hard to come by, a new article suggests that the long-lost art of introspection — even daydreaming — may be an increasingly valuable part of life…
“Balance is needed between outward and inward attention, since time spent mind wandering, reflecting and imagining may also improve the quality of outward attention that kids can sustain,” says Immordino-Yang.
She and her colleagues argue that mindful introspection can become an effective part of the classroom curriculum, providing students with the skills they need to engage in constructive internal processing and productive reflection. Research indicates that when children are given the time and skills necessary for reflecting, they often become more motivated, less anxious, perform better on tests, and plan more effectively for the future.
And mindful reflection is not just important in an academic context — it’s also essential to our ability to make meaning of the world around us. Inward attention is an important contributor to the development of moral thinking and reasoning and is linked with overall socioemotional well-being.
Immordino-Yang and her colleagues worry that the high attention demands of fast-paced urban and digital environments may be systematically undermining opportunities for young people to look inward and reflect, and that this could have negative effects on their psychological development. This is especially true in an age when social media seems to be a constant presence in teens’ day-to-day lives…
According to the authors, perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from research on the brain at rest is the fact that all rest is not idleness [my emphasis!]
- Day Dreaming Good for You? Reflection Is Critical for Development and Well-Being (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)
- Rest Is Not Idleness: Reflection Is Critical for Development and Well-Being (psychologicalscience.org)
- Rest is not idleness: Reflection is critical for development and well-being (eurekalert.org)
- Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time (blogs.kqed.org)
- Day dreaming good for you? Reflection is critical for development and well-being (sciencedaily.com)
- Rest is not idleness: Reflection is critical for development and well-being (medicalxpress.com)
- Daydreamers Could Be the Smart Kids, Says USC Study (psychologicalscience.org)
- Reflecting on my reflections… #pgce (drbadgr.wordpress.com)
- Mind Wandering: Remembering the past and Imaginging the future share similarities (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)
- The Power of Self Reflection (joyofspa.com)
And if so, is the workplace still drug free??? And if an employee would prefer not to follow advice on using a drug??
A top executive I know recently decided to takeInderal before making high-pressure/high-anxiety presentations. The impact was immediate. She felt more relaxed, confident and effective. Her people agreed.
Would she encourage a comparably anxious subordinate to take the drug? No. But if that employee’s anxiety really undermined his or her effectiveness, she’d share her story and make them aware of the Inderal option. She certainly wouldn’t disapprove of an employee seeking prescription help to become more productive.
No one in America thinks twice anymore if a colleague takes Prozac. (Roughly 10% of workers in Europe and the U.K. use antidepressants, as well). Caffeine has clearly become the (legal) stimulant of business choice and Starbucks its most profitable global pusher (two shots of espresso, please).
Increasingly, prescription ADHD drugs like Adderall, dedicated to improving attention deficits, are finding their way into gray market use by students looking for a cognitive edge. When one looks at existing and in-the-pipeline drugs for Alzheimer’s and other neurophysiological therapies for aging OECD populations with retirements delayed, the odds are that far more employees are going to be taking more drugs to get more work done better….
- Should Your Boss Encourage You to Take Drugs? (thehealthcareblog.com)
- Should Your Boss Encourage You to Take Drugs? (blogs.hbr.org)
- FDA Warns of Counterfeit Adderall Sales (whnt.com)
- FDA Warns of Fake Version of ADHD Drug Adderall (news.health.com)
- FDA Warns Over Fake Adderall Drugs (myfoxphilly.com)
If you think the restroom is the place you are most likely to pick up germs at the office, perhaps you should think again, because new findings from the US suggest the dirtiest places in the office are in break rooms and kitchens, with sink and microwave door handles topping the list of germ “hot spots”…
An ATP **count of 300 or more means the surface has a high level of contamination and there is a high risk of illness transmission. When they analyzed the samples, the researchers found ATP counts of 300 and higher on:
- 75% of break room sink faucet (tap) handles,
- 48% of microwave door handles,
- 27% of keyboards,
- 26% of refrigerator door handles,
- 23% of water fountain buttons, and
- 21% of vending machine buttons.
**ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Large amounts are present in food and organic residues, which when left on a surface can harbor and grow bacteria.
- The 6 Dirtiest Work Places (webmd.com)
- Door Handles are the dirtiest place in a workplace (prweb.com)
- Germy Office Surfaces: Study Reveals Most Contaminated Items At Work (huffingtonpost.com)
- Where Do The Germs Lurk At Work? Not Where You Think… (wdok.radio.com)
- Germs Lurk in Office Kitchens, Break Rooms (news.health.com)
- Where do germs flourish in your office? – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Germs Lurk in Office Kitchens, Break Rooms (health.usnews.com)
Research published in Science sheds light on a hot-button political issue: the role and effectiveness of government regulation. Does it kill jobs or protect the public? ..
..The results overturn conventional wisdom: Workplace inspections do reduce on-the-job injuries and their associated costs, and the researchers could not detect any harm to companies’ performance or profits. ..
..The study found that within high-hazard industries in California, inspected workplaces reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent and saved 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs in the four years following the inspection, compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over that period. What’s more, there was no discernible impact on the companies’ profits. ..
In future work, the research team hopes to better understand which subsets of firms benefit most from inspections and whether the inspections yield benefits in other domains such as improved compliance with environmental regulations.
Beyond workplace safety, the authors believe that randomized trials could be used widely throughout government and business to evaluate new policies, from environmental regulations to educational programs.
“More trials like this would help us find out where regulations work and where they don’t,” Toffel said. “Because the cost of regulations is very real, governments should be investing constantly to learn how to make them as effective and efficient as possible.”
- OSHA’s Safety Tests Protect Workers at Little Cost: Study (news.health.com)
- New study shows that workplace inspections save lives, don’t destroy jobs (eurekalert.org)
- Study Indicates That Safety Inspections Don’t Hurt Businesses Monetarily (ehssafetynews.com)
- It’s Official: Random Inspections Improve Workplace Safety (news.sciencemag.org)
- Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits (sfgate.com)
- Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits (heraldonline.com)
The brief’s key findings are:
- When economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase.
- Previous research suggests that a likely culprit is poorer health habits tied to greater job demands.
- However, the increase in mortality is largely driven by deaths among elderly women in nursing homes.
- These nursing home deaths may reflect increased shortages of caregivers during economic expansions.
- Death Rates Higher In Nursing Homes During Good Economy (nursingassistants.net)
Once a year, employees of the Swiss Village Retirement Community in Berne, Ind., have a checkup that will help determine how much they pay for health coverage. Those who don’t smoke, aren’t obese and whose blood pressure and cholesterol fall below specific levels get to shave as much as $2,000 off their annual health insurance deductible…
…Gone are the days of just signing up for health insurance and hoping you don’t have to use it. Now, more employees are being asked to roll up their sleeves for medical tests — and to exercise, participate in disease management programs and quit smoking to qualify for hundreds, even thousands of dollars’ worth of premium or deductible discounts.
Proponents say such plans offer people a financial incentive to make healthier choices and manage chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are driving up healthcare costs in the USA. Even so, studies of the effect of such policies on lifestyle changes are inconclusive. And advocates for people with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, fear that tying premium costs directly to test results could lead to discrimination.
Consumer Tips: Workplace Wellness Plans
More and more employers are tying financial reward and penalties to workers completing a set of medical tests. KHN’s Julie Appleby says the tests can include blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Watch the video.
Employee reaction has also been mixed….
..Some workers complain the programs are an intrusion into their private lives.
“They portrayed it as voluntary, which it isn’t, because if you don’t participate, they fine you every paycheck,” says Seff, the former Broward employee who is suing over the program. He has since retired on disability with back and neck problems. “I don’t think any employer should do it.”
In an effort to slow rising health care costs, Broward County in 2009 began asking workers to fill out a health information form and have a finger-stick blood test each year to check blood sugar and cholesterol levels, according to court filings. Workers who declined were docked $40 a month.
Those who did participate were offered disease management programs if they had asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure or kidney disease. The county stopped docking those who declined to participate Jan. 1, 2011, after Seff’s suit was filed, court documents say.
The lawsuit, which argues the county’s program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, is likely the first of its kind in the nation, says Seff’s attorney Daniel Levine in Boca Raton, Fla. Without ruling on whether the wellness effort was voluntary, a federal district court judge backed the county in April, 2011, saying the plan fell under provisions of the law meant to protect bona fide benefit programs. The case is now on appeal. Broward County attorneys did not return requests for comment.
Some state lawmakers are also concerned about the potential for discrimination. ..
..Given the available data, it’s hard to parse how much of the reported savings from such programs come from improved health, and how much from the frequent pairing of such programs with high deductible policies, which shift more costs onto workers.
“We just don’t know how effective (incentives) are,” says Volpp. There is pretty good evidence they help smokers quit, he says, but less that they prompt workers to lose weight and keep it off.
Weight gain is partly a function of genes and environment, he says, so programs that tie incentives to achieving a particular weight range are “in essence, penalizing people for factors they can’t control or can only partly control” – either because they’ve failed to lose weight or haven’t participated in the program.
Volpp says the medical literature shows that incentives work best when participants have choices: get below a certain BMI, or lose 5 percent of current body weight, for example. And, he says, rewards should be immediate.
“If you want the employee to do a health assessment or (medical) screening, you should give them the reward right after they do it” he says.
At Jones Lang LaSalle, workers who make a pledge — on the honor system — that they don’t smoke, or will take a stop-smoking class, and achieve a healthy weight, get 10 percent off their contribution toward insurance premiums….
- More U.S. employers tie health insurance to medical tests (usatoday.com)
- Employers Are Now Including More Medical Tests When It Comes to Employee Contributions and Coverage Offered With Health Insurance (ducknetweb.blogspot.com)
- 5 ways your boss is downsizing your health insurance (insurance.com)
- Take care or pay a higher share of your health insurance (insurance.com)
- More workplace wellness plans dangle financial rewards/penalties tied to test results (HealthNewsReview.org)
“Military recruits are a little less warm and friendly to begin with and the military experience seems to reinforce this – as after service, men score even lower on agreeableness when compared to individuals who did not go into the military,” Jackson says. “Interestingly, this influence appears to linger long after the soldier has re-entered the workforce or returned to college.”
Jackson points out that being less agreeable is not always a negative human trait. While it may make it more challenging to maintain positive relationships with friends and romantic partners, it can be seen as a positive influence on career success.
“On the flip side,” he says, “people with lower levels of agreeableness are often more likely to fight their way up the corporate ladder and to make the sometimes unpopular decisions that can be necessary for business success.”
- Military service changes personality, makes vets less agreeable (eurekalert.org)
- Military service changes personality (scienceblog.com)
- Does The Military Make The Man Or Does The Man Make The Military? (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Does the military make the man or does the man make the military? (eurekalert.org)
Depleted Uranium Weapons – A Short Introduction on the Adverse Health Effects to Soldiers and Others
Last week my “cousin” [actually it is more complicated than that] asked me for information about the effects of depleted uranium weapons.
She had read about a soldier who died from uranium poisoning.
Here is a portion of the email she sent me
There was an obit in our local newspaper, 2/4/12 of a young man who died, and had some Tiffin connection.Here I quote from his obit:“Travis Carson, age 25, died Feb. 2, 2012 of uranium poisoning lung cancer….Travis was serving active duty in the U.S.Army from 2006 until his death. He had served one tour of duty I Iraq.” (he is survived by his wife and four children.)
Depleted Uranium (DU) Weapons- A Short Introduction
What is DU and where does it come from ? Depleted Uranium (DU) is nuclear waste that is a product of uranium processing. Uranium found in nature occurs in different isotopes: U234, U235, and U238. Each isotope has a different number of neutrons, but the same number of electrons.
|Image from http://www.world-nuclear.org/eduation.uran.htm (What is Uranium, How Does It Work- World Nuclear Association)This Web site also has great basic information on uranium and how reactor fuel is extracted from uranium ore|
When uranium ore is processed for nuclear fuel, the product is usually pellets made containing the isotopes U-238 and U-235. Most of the fuel is made of the stable isotope U-238 which is barely radioactive. U-238 is also called a “fertile” fuel; it is acted upon by the U-235 isotope to create energy. The U-235 isotope is much more volatile, radioactive, and “fissile”. When neutrons are fired at it, it produces a self-sustaining series of nuclear reactions, releasing huge amounts of energy. The U-238 atoms can capture neutrons shot off during the U-235 nuclear reactions, and split to become unstable plutonium atoms which also emit energy.
All this energy is converted to steam to produce electricity. U-235 is one of the waste products of nuclear reactors (as Davis Bessie). Nuclear waste products can be processed for disposal at storage sites or reused as a fuel component or in manufacturing (as weapons).
What are DU weapons and why are they used? Depleted Uranium itself is a chemically toxic and radioactive compound, which is used in armour piercing munitions because of its very high density. It is 1.7 times denser than lead, giving DU weapons increased range and penetrative power. They belong to a class of weapons called kinetic energy penetrators. The part of the weapon that is made of DU is called a penetrator: this is a long dart weighing more than four kilograms in the largest examples: it is neither a tip nor a coating. The penetrator is usually an alloy of DU and a small amount of another metal such as titanium and molybdenum. These give it extra strength and resistance to corrosion.
In addition to armour-piercing penetrators, DU is used as armour in US M1A1 and M1A2 battle tanks and in small amounts in some types of landmines (M86 PDM and ADAM), both types contain 0.101g of DU in the resin cases of the individual mines. 432 ADAM antipersonnel landmine howitzer shells were used on the Kuwaiti battlefields during the 1991 Gulf War. Both M86 PDM and ADAM mines remain in U.S. stockpiles.
Where have DU weapons been used? Governments have often initially denied using DU because of public health concerns. It is now clear that DU was used on a large scale by the US and the UK in the Gulf War in 1991, then in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, and again in the war in Iraq by the US and the UK in 2003. It is suspected that the US also used DU in Afghanistan in 2001, although both the US and UK governments have denied using it there.
While we have a reasonable idea how much DU was used in the Balkans (12,700kg) and the 1991 Gulf War (290,300kg), there is little data on the extent of its use following the 2003 invasion in Iraq. One estimate put the total at 140,000kg by early 2004; with far more being used in urban areas than in 1991. This was chiefly a product of a move towards asymmetric warfare but also an increasingly casual approach to DU’s use. The US consistently refused to release data on the locations of DU strikes to UNEP and post-conflict instability has made assessing the true extent of contamination virtually impossible.
How does the DU in weapons get into the body? The DU oxide dust produced when DU munitions burn has no natural or historical analogue. This toxic and radioactive dust , which can travel many kilometres when “kicked up” in arid climates, are readily inhaled and retained in the lungs by civilians and the military alike. From the lungs they travel to and are deposited in the lymph nodes, bones, brain and testes.
It is thought that DU is the cause of a sharp increase in the incidence rates of some cancers, such as breast cancer and lymphoma, in areas of Iraq following 1991 and 2003. It has also been implicated in a rise in birth defects from areas adjacent to the main Gulf War battlefields. A Balkan focused UNEP reported that these corroding penetrators were likely to contaminate groundwater and drinking water supplies and should be removed.
What are the radioactive hazards of uranium weapon? Radiation has three basic forms, all are emitted when DU “burns” as in munitions being fired
Alpha -fast moving atoms that are slowed by a few inches of air or piece of paper because of their relatively large size
Beta – fast moving electrons with higher energy than alpha because they are lighter and faster, can go through several feet of air or thin metal
Gamma- most damaging radiation, made of photons (much like light), their high energy can penetrate up to several inches of lead
The chief radiological hazard from uranium 238 is alpha radiation. When inhaled or ingested, alpha radiation is the most damaging form of ionising radiation. However, as U238 decays into its daughter products thorium and protactinium, both beta and gamma radiation are released, increasing the radiation burden further. Therefore DU particles must be considered as a dynamic mixture of radioactive isotopes.
Inside the body alpha radiation is incredibly disruptive. The heavy, highly charged particles leave a trail of ionised free radicals in their wake, disrupting finely tuned cellular processes. In one day, one microgram, (one millionth of a gram), of pure DU can release 1000 alpha particles. Each particle is charged with more than four million electron volts of energy; this goes directly into whichever organ or tissue it is lodged in. Ionizing radiation is a human carcinogen at every dose-level, not just at high doses; there is no threshold dose and any alpha particle can cause irreparable genetic damage.
What are the chemical toxicity hazards of uranium weapons? While many studies have only investigated the possibility of kidney damage, since 1991, and triggered by concerns over DU, dozens of papers have highlighted other, more worrying effects of uranium toxicity. Repeated cellular and animal studies have shown that uranium is a kidney toxin, neurotoxin, immunotoxin, mutagen, carcinogen and teratogen. Compared to the uranium naturally present in the environment and the ore in mine workings, DU dust is a concentrated form of uranium. Uranium has been shown to cause oxidative damage to DNA. Recent studies in hamsters found that uranium formed uranium-DNA adducts (bonds),these make it more likely that the DNA will be repaired incorrectly. If this occurs, adducts can lead to genetic mutations that may be replicated leading to carcinogensis. In 2007 DU compounds were shown to damage experimental human lung cells and disrupt DNA repair.
Are there any organizations addressing DU health and environment concerns?
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons [http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/wast.htm] has information on current legal status, their campaign (news, events, timeline, projects), how to take action, and resources. They have a social media presence via YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Most of the information on this page came from this organization.
- Uranium (ToxTown – summaries of environmental concerns and toxic chemicals where you work, live, and play)
Military personnel may be exposed to uranium if they work on a ship or submarine, or handle ammunition or nuclear weapons. They can be exposed through shrapnel that contains depleted uranium or dust from ammunition. Personnel may be exposed if their armored vehicle is penetrated by uranium munitions, or if they salvage vehicles that have been in contact with uranium munitions. When a depleted uranium projectile hits a vehicle, the projectile forms particles of varying sizes. Personnel in or near such vehicles may breathe or swallow depleted uranium, or have tiny uranium fragments in their bodies.
How can uranium affect my health?
The health effects of natural and depleted uranium are caused by its chemical properties as a heavy metal and not by radiation.
Eating or breathing very high levels of uranium can cause acute kidney failure and death. Exposure to high levels of uranium may lead to increased cancer risk, liver damage, and internal irradiation. Exposure to uranium can damage the kidneys and respiratory tract, and cause dermatitis and blood changes.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health considers uranium compounds to be potential occupational carcinogens. Uranium is not listed as a known or anticipated carcinogen in the Twelfth Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program.
Radon is listed as a human carcinogen in the Twelfth Report on Carcinogens because it causes lung cancer. Exposure to high levels of radon can cause other lung diseases such as emphysema and thickening of lung tissues. Simultaneous exposure to radon and cigarette smoking can increase the incidence of lung cancer and lung disease.
(these articles are for informational purposes only, they have not been evaluated fully. So little has been published by vetted sources that it was decided to include all found articles via a WordPress option)
- Depleted Uranium a Soldiers Death Sentence! (disclose.tv)
- The U.s. Still Uses Uranium Deplet in Afghanistan (socyberty.com)
- Depleted Uranium and the Boeing 747 airplane program (enformable.com)
- Horrors of depleted uranium threaten the world (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com)
- Opinion: Depleted Uranium Weapons – a new area of Liberal Democrat policy? (libdemvoice.org)
- Canadian Soldier’s Struggle to Have DU Poisoning Acknowledged (stevebeckow.com)
- Depleted Uranium – the dangerous enemy – A death sentence (powersthatbeat.wordpress.com)
- Quebec ex-soldier plans hunger strike (cbc.ca)
- US and Client States Used Weapons of Mass Destruction on Libya (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com)
- Depleted uranium has wreaked havoc on health in Iraq (disclose.tv)
- Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege (alhittin.com)
- Poisoned soldier plans hunger strike in bid for care (ctv.ca)
- US uranium to blame for deformed babies in Fallujah? (rt.com)
- ‘Poisoned’ Bosnia veteran begins hunger strike (ctv.ca)
- Veteran who claims poisoning starts hunger strike outside minister’s office (theglobeandmail.com)
- ‘Poisoned’ veteran begins hunger strike outside minister’s office (thestar.com)
- Ex-soldier ends hunger strike (cbc.ca)
- Hunger striking vet to meet Veterans Affairs minister (ctv.ca)
- Vet who went on hunger strike worried about treatment (ctv.ca)
Tense times: Overcoming workplace incivility
Take rudeness for what it’s worth.
Being on the receiving end of an unnecessarily sharp barb or inconsiderate brush-off can ruin your day. Why let it? Constructive criticism merits reflection; rudeness does not. So, don’t overthink the situation. While you can’t control how someone else treats you, you can limit how much it affects you. A person’s poor manners or behavior says less about you than it does about him or her.
Don’t go it alone.
What do you say at the end of a hard day when you’re asked about work? “I don’t want to talk about it” is a common response. But in many cases, bottling your feelings only exacerbates the problem.
Opening up to supportive friends or family can be cathartic. Likewise, seeking the wisdom of a mentor or sharing work-related war stories with a trusted member of your network often yields valuable insights and new coping strategies.
Rise above the fray.
Pessimism is contagious, and it’s all too easy for chronic complainers to bring others down. Don’t get caught up in the negativity. It’s possible to keep tabs on office undercurrents without feeding the grapevine with additional gripes, groans or gossip. Displaying a toxic attitude doesn’t solve anything, but it will likely make you look bad — and feel worse.
Give yourself a break.
You might believe you can’t afford to take time off. But can you afford not to? Whether you jet off to a tropical island or do a “staycation,” stepping away to recharge your batteries is healthy. Getting some distance and decompressing has a way of putting even your biggest workplace woes in perspective.
Similarly, it’s smart to take mini-breaks during the day. When tensions are running high, go for a quick stroll to collect your thoughts and cool off.
Finally, take an honest look at yourself. It’s very easy to point fingers and identify others’ annoying personality flaws. But what about your own? Try to be more mindful of how your bad habits, moods and behaviors might negatively impact co-workers….
From the 14 January 2012 Medical News Today item
Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.
Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident, and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are that you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.
The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author. Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.
“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.” ….
- How you envision others says a lot about you in real life (scienceblog.com)
- Imagine that: How you envision others says a lot about you in real life (eurekalert.org)
- What is The Center of Your Daily Activities (socyberty.com)
Excerpt from the article
…For decades, hundreds if not thousands of studies have examined the relationship between our activity levels and our health. Only recently have researchers turned their attention to the consequences of sitting at a desk all day and lying on the couch all evening.
“We’re talking extensively and producing public health messages about what we don’t do. And we don’t talk at all about what we do do: We don’t move very much, but we do sit idle,” says Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.
The average person now spends 9.3 hours a day sitting. People who sit for six or more hours per day are 40 per cent more likely to die within 15 years compared to someone who sits less than three hours a day, even if they exercise. Obese people sit 2½ hours more each day than people of normal weight, according to data compiled by Medical Billing and Coding, a U.S.-based organization….
- Is Your Desk Job Killing You? (bigthink.com)
- Bad Office Chairs: Crippling Workers in the European Union – Until Now. (prweb.com)
WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2011 — A flexible workplace initiative improved employees’ health behavior and well-being, including a rise in the amount and quality of sleep and better health management, according to a new study by University of Minnesota sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen, which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
“Our study shows that moving from viewing time at the office as a sign of productivity, to emphasizing actual results can create a work environment that fosters healthy behavior and well-being,” says Moen. “This has important policy implications, suggesting that initiatives creating broad access to time flexibility encourage employees to take better care of themselves.”
Using longitudinal data collected from 608 employees of a white-collar organization before and after a flexible workplace initiative was implemented, the study examined changes in health-promoting behaviors and health outcomes among the employees participating in the initiative compared to those who did not participate.
Introduced at the Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Minn. in 2005, the workplace initiative—dubbed the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE)—redirected the focus of employees and managers towards measurable results and away from when and where work is completed. Under ROWE, employees were allowed to routinely change when and where they worked based on their individual needs and job responsibilities without seeking permission from a manager or even notifying one.
- Employees participating in the flexible workplace initiative reported getting almost an extra hour (52 minutes) of sleep on nights before work.
- Employees participating in the flexible workplace initiative managed their health differently: They were less likely to feel obligated to work when sick and more likely to go to a doctor when necessary, even when busy.
- The flexible workplace initiative increased employees’ sense of schedule control and reduced their work-family conflict which, in turn, improved their sleep quality, energy levels, self-reported health, and sense of personal mastery while decreasing employees’ emotional exhaustion and psychological distress.
“Narrower flexibility policies allow some ‘accommodations’ for family needs, but are less likely to promote employee health and well-being or to be available to all employees,” says Kelly.
…They found that, once people had adjusted their attitude toward someone, they weren’t disturbed by that person’s angry face the next time it appeared. On the other hand, when participants were told to just feel the emotions brought on by an angry face, they continued to be upset by that face. In a second study, the researchers recorded electrical brain activity from the scalp and found that reappraising wiped out the signals of the negative emotions people felt when they just looked at the faces.
Psychologists used to think that people had to feel the negative emotion, and then get rid of it; this research suggests that, if people are prepared, it’s actually a much faster and deeper process.
“If you’re trained with reappraisal, and you know your boss is frequently in a bad mood, you can prepare yourself to go into a meeting,” says Blechert, who also works as a therapist. “He can scream and yell and shout but there’ll be nothing.” But this study only looked at still pictures of angry faces; next, Blechert would like to test how people respond to a video of someone yelling at them.
- How we can forgive people who are being rude to us (news.bioscholar.com)
- Controlling Anger before it Controls You (APA)
- Want to Successfully Manage Your Emotions? Be Flexible (psychologytoday.com)
- Emotion Regulation: Emotional Intelligence for Personal Growth (davemsw.com)
- Reappraising the Situation and Its Impact on Aggressive Behavior (psp.sagepub.com)
- Jokes help us cope with horrifying images (scienceblog.com)
- Distract yourself or think it over? Two ways to deal with negative emotions (scienceblog.com)
- Daily Recovery Reading – November 17, 2011 (12stepsthinkaboutit.org)
- Adolescence and the Anger Prone Parent (my.psychologytoday.com)
A co-worker’s rudeness can have a great impact on relationships far beyond the workplace, according to a Baylor University study published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. Findings suggest that stress created by incivility can be so intense that, at the end of the day, it is taken home by the worker and impacts the well-being of the worker’s family and partner, who in turn takes the stress to his/her workplace…
Animals can provide important opportunities for entertainment and learning. However, there is also a risk for getting sick or hurt from contact with animals, including those in school and daycare classrooms.
Animals can be effective and valuable teaching aids for children, but there is a risk of illness and injury from contact with animals. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths, a behavior that can spread germs. …
The page also summarizes
- Types of diseases animals can spread
- How to reduce risk of illnesses from animals
- How to check that animals are healthy
- Links to further information, for both adults and children
- Is Your Kids’ Sack Lunchbox Safe? (abcnews.go.com)
Companies like Google and Zappos.com are famous for their “work hard, play hard” attitudes and friendly work environments, but are their employees healthier too? According to a Tel Aviv University researcher, a positive relationship with your co-workers has long-term health benefits. Dr. Sharon Toker of the Department of Organizational Behavior at TAU’s Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration says that employees who believe that they have the personal support of their peers at work are more likely to live a longer life…
- Hang out at the water cooler, live longer (eurekalert.org)
- Getting along at work boosts your lifespan, researchers say (thestar.com)
Challenging traditional views of workplace anger, a new article by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor suggests that even intense emotional outbursts can prove beneficial if responded to with compassion.
Dr. Deanna Geddes, chair of the Fox School’s Human Resource Management Department, argues that more supportive responses by managers and co-workers after displays of deviant anger can promote positive change at work, while sanctioning or doing nothing does not.
“The trouble with sanctions: Organizational responses to deviant anger displays at work,” co-authored with University of Baltimore’s Dr. Lisa T. Stickney, states that “when companies choose to sanction organizational members expressing deviant anger, these actions may divert attention and resources from correcting the initial, anger-provoking event that triggered the employee’s emotional outburst.”…
APHA (American Public Health Association) is raising awareness of the importance of injury and violence
prevention through National Public Health Week: Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-free.
From a recent AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) listserv item
AHRQ’s Healthcare 411 is a podcast series you can listen to at home or on the go. Available in English and Spanish, 60-second audio podcasts are designed for consumers. Log on and listen to Healthcare 411; or subscribe and we’ll send stories directly to your computer or personal media player. Select to listen to our latest audio podcast on e-prescribing and reducing medication costs.
- Effective Health Care: Helping You Make Better Treatment Choices
- Tips on Going Home From the Hospital
- Asking Questions to Get the Care You Need
- Online Health Information
- Torn Rotator Cuff
- Treating Stable Coronary Heart Disease
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published a new Work Place Safety and Health Topic.
The Skin Exposures and Effects notes the following
It is estimated that more than 13 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Dermal exposure to hazardous agents can result in a variety of occupational diseases and disorders, including occupational skin diseases (OSD) and systemic toxicity. Historically, efforts to control workplace exposures to hazardous agents have focused on inhalation rather than skin exposures. As a result, assessment strategies and methods are well developed for evaluating inhalation exposures in the workplace; standardized methods are currently lacking for measuring and assessing skin exposures.
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division