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Computer use significantly affected by arthritis
Date:4/30/2009

Computers are increasingly used in daily life: 56 percent of workers use one on the job and 62 percent of households own one. Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability, and those with the disesase may have difficulty performing physically demanding jobs, and may select jobs that appear less strenuous but require intensive computer use. Computer use is a risk factor for pain and musculoskeletal disorders in the general population; arthritis patients are more at risk because of difficulties performing tasks due to pain, restricted movement, muscle weakness, or fatigue. Little is known about the magnitude of problems experienced by those with arthritis during computer use, but a new study explored this question among people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and fibromyalgia (FM). The study was published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/77005015/home).

Led by Nancy A. Baker of the University of Pittsburgh and funded by the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, the study involved 315 arthritis patients who completed a specially-designed survey that contained questions on computer use, discomfort experienced while using a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse and monitor, and problems associated with each piece of equipment. The results showed that many people with arthritis experience both discomfort and problems that could lead to work limitations: 84 percent of respondents reported a problem with computer use attributed to their underlying disorder and 77 percent reported some discomfort related to computer use. Of the three categories of disease, significantly more respondents with FM reported severe discomfort, more problems and greater limitations related to computer use than those with RA or OA. "Because those with arthritis may experience pain and discomfort even under ideal circumst
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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