To examine the effects of occupational and environmental neurotoxicants on vestibular, cerebellar and spinocerebellar functions, the following three groups of subjects were examined, using a computerized posturography with sway frequency analysis: (1) 49 male chemical factory workers exposed to lead stearate, aged 27-63 (mean 43) years, with concurrent blood lead concentrations (BPbs) of 11-113 (mean 48) μg/100 g and past mean BPbs of 7-52 (mean 24) μg/100 g; (2) 29 male sandal, shoe and leather factory workers, aged 35-73 (mean 51) years, with urinary 2,5-hexanedione (HD) concentrations of 0.41-3.06 (mean 1.20) mg/g creatinine; and (3) 9 females, aged 19-58 (mean 29) years, who were exposed to sarin accidentally 6-8 months before the study (Tokyo Subway Sarin Poisoning, March 20, 1995) and showed plasma cholinesterase (ChE) activities of 13-95 (mean 68) IU/ I on the day of poisoning. The pattern of posturographic changes in lead workers suggested that the vestibulocerebellum (lower vermis), anterior cerebellar lobe and spinocerebellar afferent pathway were asymptomatically affected; the vestibulocerebellar change reflected concurrent lead absorption and the anterior cerebellar one reflected past absorption. Similarly, vestibulocerebellar and spinocerebellar functions were affected by n-hexane in solvent workers; the effect on the vestibulocerebellar function was probably inhibited by xylene. Also, the chronic (long-term) effect on the vestibulocerebellar function persisted in acute sarin poisoning. It is thus suggested that the vestibulocerebellar function is most sensitive to all the three chemicals examined. It appears that the computerized posturography with frequency analysis is a useful technique for assessment of vestibular, cerebellar and spinocerebellar effects in occupational and environmental health.
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