About this Research Topic
It is widely known that physical, chemical, biological and psychological risk factors exposure in the working environment may impact the health, well-being, and safety of employees by producing acute or chronic alterations in complex functions controlled by the nervous system. At the same time, exposure to different multiple risk factors, potentially involving neural regulation systems in humans is increasing nowadays and requires a new complex multidisciplinary approach to the issue. For example, air pollution or other neurotoxic agents may induce neurodegeneration affecting neuro-inflammation mechanisms. Physical and psychological stress may enhance the neurodegenerative processes whose mechanisms are still poorly understood.
Occupational stress may seriously affect the autonomic nervous system as well as impacting cognitive performance and alertness. Stress causes include irregular and long working shifts that are often associated with physiologic wake-sleep rhythms alterations.
Long-term exposure to risk factors could amplify the effects also impacting the cardiovascular system, particularly in aging workers.
The recent development of immuno-neurology, neuro-epidemiology, and neuro-genetics provided tools and methods to improve the current knowledge on the role of the workplace and environmental exposure in reducing health and well-being.
Multiple Sclerosis, some polyradiculopathies, and synucleinopathies such as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonisms are thought to be tightly connected to environmental factors acting on an already genetically susceptible host. Genetic polymorphism studies and an in-depth investigation of the role of occupational and environmental exposure potentially translating in an effective epigenetic impact will help to identify specific populations of genetically susceptible individuals, for whom, different protection strategies should be adopted in the workplace.
In addition to genetic polymorphism studies, electrophysiologic and neuroimaging studies, in particular, evoked potentials, electromyography, conduction velocities, nerve and muscle echography, and MRI, can help to confirm the etiopathogenesis, brain damage symptoms, to detect subclinical or early peripheral and central nervous system involvement and to accurately diagnose and manage the disease.
This knowledge will help to further develop personalized occupational health, promptly identifying and protecting those workers resulting more susceptible to neurotoxic effects.
Occupational Neuroscience aims to evaluate the effects of complex environmental and occupational exposure on working people. This area seeks to analyze the effects in a holistic fashion, adopting a multidisciplinary approach by involving differently specialized experts. This approach should enable scientists and clinicians to share knowledge for promoting global health and work well-being improvement. From a broader perspective, this improvement might help to reduce the percentage of work leave due to disease, reduce workplace accidents, and improve the mental health of subjects following retirement.
This Research Topic aims to stimulate scientists and clinicians to focus on the potential relationships between nervous system disorders, well-being alteration, and the occupational environment’s impact on the nervous system’s health, providing inputs and novel methodological approaches focusing on the following:
• Work-related stressors, cognitive impairment, and unsafe behavior;
• Work-related (shifting schedules, long shifts, work stressors) sleep problems, including sleep deprivation and low sleep quality on cardiovascular autonomic dysregulation, higher cerebral functions impairment and other neurological diseases ;
• Neurotoxic exposure and stressors at work;
• Sleep problems as an early sign of neurological disease;
• Role of autoimmunity, inflammation, and stress on neurological disease;
• Preventive intervention in the workplace and management of subjects affected by neurological disease.
• Diagnosis and management of Neuromuscular Disorders in occupational medicine
Researchers are welcome to contribute with hypotheses, ideas, and observations to this fascinating topic.
Keywords: neurological disorders, neurotoxic environment, stress, wake-sleep cycle, autonomic nervous system
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