|Take A Hike! It's Good for Your Brain
New research shows that walking at least six miles a week may protect brain size and, in turn, preserve memory, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the Oct. 13 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems," said study author Kirk Erickson, a Pitt professor of psychology.
The study shows in cognitively normal elderly persons that a relatively easy activity like walking may be a way of staving off cognitive impairment - the stage of memory loss that comes before dementia and Alzheimer's disease - by increasing the volume of the brain's gray matter, which is associated with fewer memory problems.
"If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative," said Erickson.
Our conclusion from this report is that lunch hour brisk walks make great sense and that your wellness efforts might put competitive walking toward the head of the list for your people. For more on the Pitt report, click here
New Technology for Reducing Ladder Slips
Ladder slips account for more than one third of all ladder-related fall incidents. NIOSH is collaborating with SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development institute, to develop a prototype device that will enhance extension ladder stability. The device will use an innovative electroadhesion technology invented and developed at SRI. Electroadhesion provides a means to electrically attach a ladder to a variety of building surfaces using considerable force, thereby providing increased traction and resistance to slip. Applying electroadhesion technology to ladders has the potential to improve their stability on variety of materials with smooth, rough, and dusty surfaces. For a comprehensive conference report on falls from NIOSH, click here. An abstract of the research on electroadhesion can be found on page 61.
EPA Seeking Comments on Chemical Alternatives for DfE
The EPA established the Design for the Environment (DfE) process to help manufacturers bring safer chemical products to the marketplace. Primarily dealing with consumer products, the agency has announced new criteria to help companies and other groups, such as states and environmental organizations, identify safer chemicals. The new criteria, part of the agency's DfE Alternatives Assessments, are intended to be a tool for identifying safer alternatives to chemicals that pose a threat to human health and the environment.
"This new approach for evaluating and identifying safer chemicals is an important step toward ensuring that that the chemicals used in this country are safe," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in a recent statement. "Making this information available will not only lead to the manufacture of safer products, it will increase the public's access to critical chemical information." To download a copy of the draft assessment process, click here. Comments can be submitted to EPA through January 2011.
AAA foundation Finds Drowsy Driving A Significant Problem
In a survey of drivers released in November, the AAA Foundation found a significant increase in drowsy driving. Highlights include:
- An estimated 16.5 percent (one in six) of fatal crashes, 13.1 percent (one in eight) of crashes resulting in hospitalization, and 7 percent (one in fourteen) of all crashes in which a passenger vehicle is towed involve a drowsy driver.
- Two out of five drivers (41 percent) reported having "fallen asleep or nodded off" while driving at least once in their lifetime; one in ten (11 percent) reported having done so within the past year, and 4% said they did so in the past month.
- More than one in four drivers (27 percent) admitted they had driven while they were "so sleepy that [they] had a hard time keeping [their] eyes open" within the past month.
- More than half (55 percent) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said that it occurred on a high-speed divided highway.
- More than half (59 percent) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said they had been driving for less than an hour before falling asleep; only one in five reported they had been driving for three hours or longer.
For a report on the survey, click here.
|New Occupational Hygiene Twitter Site Worth a Look
Free, stand-alone industrial hygiene training modules and other IH resources are now available at OHlearning.com
and on Twitter @OHlearning. This new Web site, brought to you by the Occupational Hygiene Training Association, was formed to promote better standards of occupational hygiene practice throughout the world. Visit the Web site for more information and and/or follow OH Learning on Twitter