ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aBV10. Age-related changes in mechanoreceptor-specific vibrotactile thresholds with exposure to hand-transmitted vibration.

G. Coutu-Wakulczyk

Ctr. for Res. on Gerontology and Geriatrics, Univ. of Sherbrooke, 1036, Belvedere South, Sherbrooke, PQ J1H 4C4, Canada

A. J. Brammer

J. E. Piercy

Natl. Res. Council, Ottawa, Canada

Mechanoreceptor-specific vibrotactile thresholds have been determined at the fingertip of the third finger (both hands) of manual workers using the tactometer. Age-related changes in thresholds were examined in 82 hands exposed to vibration, which were classified according to the Stockholm Workshop Stages of the hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), and 38 unexposed hands. The age of subjects ranged from 19 to 54 years, and the exposure to vibration ranged from 2 to 27 years. Thresholds from asymptomatic, unexposed persons were employed to separate the influence of aging from that due to vibration exposure. A preliminary analysis of the data suggests that age does not influence the development of either the sensorineural symptoms or vascular signs of HAVS, a finding of consequence to the management of workers' activities in the workplace.