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Swedish study links vibrations to heart attack risk

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06:46 CET+01:00
Vibrating tools can increase the risk of a heart attack by 30 percent, according to a new Swedish study.

“There are strong connections between heart attacks and vibrations,” said Bodil Björ, a doctoral student at Umeå University in northern Sweden, to the TT news agency.

The study is a part of Björ's dissertation, which is set for presentation on Friday, and which she hopes will contribute to shaping the working environment for miners and other labourers whose jobs require large, vibrating tools.

Her results come following a review of medical files and the causes of death for around 14,000 mine workers from the northern Swedish mining towns of Kiruna and Malmberget between 1965 and 2002.

Björ found that workers who used vibrating machines had a 30 percent higher risk for a heart attack. Her hypothesis is that the vibrations affect the autonomous nervous system, which controls cardiac rhythms.

She also used an EKG to measure the heart rates of mine workers after they had experienced vibrations.

“Then we saw an unfavourable effect,” said Björ.

He study also clarifies the role of the machines by finding that the risk for a heart attack among mine workers, relative to that of a control group and the national average, drops after the workers retire, writes that Dagens Arbete magazine.

“One can't see any increased risk for those who have retired. It appears to have something to do with the work itself,” said Björ

Heart attack is the most common cause of death among both men and women in Sweden.

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