Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2000;26(4):346-352    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.552

Failure to confi rm neurotoxic impairment using cerebral magnetic resonance imaging on solvent-exposed workers

by Aaserud O, Nakstad PH, Bakke SJ, Reinvang I,, Borchgrevink HM, Lie V, Malt UF, Gjerstad L

Objectives The study aimed at assessing signs of nervous system impairment by cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) among workers with a history of long-term exposure to mixtures of organic solvents.

Methods Thirty-six workers (mean age 44.1 years) with at least 10 (mean 23.9) years of occupational exposure to solvents and pair-matched referents with no former solvent exposure went through a blind, random-order investigation of cerebral MRI, performed with a 1.5-tesla scanner.

Results Linear measurements of the MRI tomograms showed a slight tendency toward wider ventricles and broader cortical sulci in the reference group. Visual evaluation of the MRI by 2 experienced neuroradiologists showed no significant difference between the groups; however, there was substantial interobserver variability.

Conclusions The MRI findings of this study do not support the hypothesis that long-term low-level occupational exposure to organic solvents results in the development of brain atrophy, or specific MRI signal changes in the region of the basal ganglia and thalami.