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Penn study suggests professional welders at risk for loss of sense of smell
Date:10/11/2007

. The blood tests revealed that 40.5% of the welders had abnormally elevated levels of manganese (Mn). Although this suggests that the welders were exposed mainly to Mn, it is not entirely clear whether Mn is the basis of their olfactory problems. In fact, the welders with the highest Mn blood levels exhibited better olfactory function than those with the lowest Mn blood levels.

The welders also underwent a neuropsychological test battery. Dr. Doty notes, however, that, The results of this study suggest that exposure to the fumes of welding can alter the ability to smell, and that changes in this important sensory system are not correlated with alterations in cognitive function, which also can be induced by toxins in welding fumes.

The researchers conclude that the basis of the smell loss among the welders is not entirely clear. They suggest that although the research shows that the welders had smell dysfunction in relation to the matched controls, additional groups, such as ones consisting of non-welder industrial workers, might be of value in better defining the causality.


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Contact: Kate Olderman Tavella
kate.olderman@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-8369
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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