Computer technology keyboard 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters/Catherine Benson)
Despite the many benefits of using computers, they can also cause
musculoskeletal disorders in some workers who use them on a daily basis. A
multidisciplinary team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka
University Medical Center has shown the utility of using self-modeling webcam
photos to reduce the risk of such disorders, especially in the hands, wrists,
arms and legs.
In an article soon to appear in Applied Ergonomics, Dr.
Meirav Taieb-Maimon and Prof. Bracha Shapira from BGU’s department of
information systems; Prof. Julie Cwikel of the Center for Women’s Health Studies
and Promotion; Dr. Ella Kordish from occupational health and epidemiology; and
Dr. Naftali Liebermann from Soroka’s orthopedic surgery department describe
The pop-up photos show a worker the ideal working
posture compared with his current posture as a reminder to sit in a more
ergonomically sound fashion. This study was funded by a grant from the Industry,
Trade and Labor Ministry to support the incorporation of video and
computer-based technology to address occupational health.
conducted an experiment with 60 university and hospital employees who work at
computer terminals. Their results showed that the webcam pop-up photos were a
more effective method of training than conventional ergonomic training. Both
interventions had a greater effect on older workers and those already suffering
musculoskeletal pain. The photo-training method had a greater positive effect on
women than men, and the changes were sustained over time.
intervention using photo-training combines conventional ergonomic training with
automatic visual feedback,” explains Taieb-Maimon. “The system provides
continual feedback on working habits. This gives real-time feedback on working
posture, as they contrast the photo of their current sitting style with the
photo of themselves sitting in the recommended ergonomically correct position
they were taught at the beginning of the experiment.”
Both types of
training – traditional and photo-training – were effective, but the pop up type
was shown to be more effective for older workers, workers who already had
musculoskeletal problems, and for women as compared to men.”INTENSIVE
CARE FOR NERVES
The country’s first neuro-intensive care unit opened recently at
Sheba Medical Center. The unit, headed by Prof. Moshe Hadani, is aimed at
serving patients in the Tel Hashomer Hospital’s neurology and neurosurgery
departments. Among the potential patients are those who suffered brain trauma, a
severe stroke, spinal cord damage or who recently had brain surgery.
team of senior physician and nurses staff the unit, which is well equipped with
machinery to monitor neurological conditions. In addition to intensive care is
an intermediate recovery unit before patients are transferred to the relevant
department for rehabilitation. Medical staffers are also able to conduct
clinical trials related to strokes, brain activity and brain
cancer.EARLY DETECTION OF PROSTATE CANCER
A new urine test can help aid
early detection of and treatment decisions about prostate cancer, according to a
study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology. Results of the study appeared this
month in Science:Translational Medicine.
The test supplements an elevated
prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening result, and could help some men delay
or avoid a needle biopsy. At the same time, it could identify men at highest
risk for prostate cancer. The test looks for a genetic anomaly that occurs in
about half of all prostate cancers – an instance of two genes changing places
This gene fusion, TMPRSS2:ERG, is believed to cause prostate
cancer. Studies in prostate tissues show that the gene fusion almost always
indicates cancer. But because the fusion is present only half the time, the
researchers also included another marker, PCA3. The combination was more
predictive of cancer than either marker alone.
“Testing for TMPRSS2:ERG
and PCA3 significantly improves the ability to predict whether a man has
prostate cancer,” says lead author Dr. Scott Tomlins, a pathology resident at
the U-M Health System. “We think this is going to be a tool to help men with
elevated PSA decide if they need a biopsy or if they can delay having a biopsy
and follow their PSA and urine TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3.”
looked at urine samples from 1,312 men at three academic medical centers and
seven community-based hospitals. The men all had elevated PSA levels and had
gone on to receive either a biopsy or prostatectomy to remove their prostates.
The researchers evaluated the urine samples for TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3 and
stratified patients into low, intermediate and high scores, indicating their
risk of cancer; they then compared this to biopsy results.
indicated cancer in 21 percent of men from the low-score group, 43% in the
intermediate group and 69% in the high group. Further, the urine test scores
correlated with how aggressive the cancer was, based on tumor size and Gleason
score (a measure of how abnormal the cells look). Only 7% of men in the
low-score group had an aggressive tumor, while 40% of those in the high-score
“Many more men have elevated PSA than actually have cancer,
but it can be difficult to determine this without biopsy. This test will help in
this regard. The hope is that this test could be an intermediate step before
getting a biopsy,” says senior study author Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, director of the
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology.
Prostate biopsies are done
with a needle in an office setting, but they do pose some discomfort and risk to
the patient. In addition, a biopsy can offer an incomplete picture, since
urologists are testing the prostate as a whole, rather than a specific
The combined TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3 test is not yet available as a
prostate cancer screening tool. The Michigan Center for Translational Pathology
is working with Gen- Probe Inc., which has licensed the technology, and hopes to
offer it to U-M patients within the year.