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From The CriticsReviewer: John Balbus, MD, MPH (George Washington University)
Description: This monograph is a report on a workshop conducted in August, 1998 by the National Research Council.
Purpose: The purpose of the workshop was to review the scientific literature on work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs), with particular emphasis on the just-published NIOSH review on the topic Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) and Workplace Factors: A Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back (Second Printing, NIOSH 1997). In particular, this workshop was a response to the need for a "blue-ribbon" panel to provide a consensus on a causal relation between work factors and WRMSDs.
Audience: This book will be most valuable for clinical practitioners treating WRMSDs, researchers and academicians devoted to the subject, and policy makers who are well-versed in the biological basis of WRMSDs.
Features: This monograph is divided into three sections: a steering committee report distilling information presented at the workshop, the actual proceedings of the workshop, and full-text versions of papers presented at the workshop. Most of the critical evaluation is directed at the NIOSH 1997 review of WRMSDs, with both positive and negative appraisals given. Criteria for determination of causality are clearly described and applied to the literature. Valuable contributions include reviews of mechanical and non-mechanical risk factors for WRMSDs and of the pathophysiology of soft tissue and nerve damage in WRMDSs. The quality of the contributors is top-notch.
Assessment: A particular strength of this book is the integration of basic pathophysiologic and epidemiologic research; prior reviews have tended to focus on epidemiology studies. This would be an excellent companion to the exhaustively documented, but perhaps less user-friendly NIOSH review, and is a valuable, up-to-date reference on the topic.