U Researchers Win Largest Grant Ever Awarded to Study Risk Factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow

U Researchers Win Largest Grant Ever Awarded to Study Risk Factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow

Aug 11, 2003 6:00 PM

Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin have won a $2 million grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to study and identify risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.

The grant is the largest ever for an epidemiological study of the two disorders.

"We've never been able to identify what preventive action we can take against carpal tunnel," said Kurt T. Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H., research associate professor of family and preventive medicine and the study's epidemiologist and co-principal investigator. "This study will be the mechanism to do that."

The four-year project will follow more than 750 workers from Utah and Wisconsin to determine risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome (a pinched nerve in the wrist), tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis, a type of tendinitis), and other upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders.

The project will:

--Analyze the workers' jobs in detail.

--Follow workers over the length of the study.

--Analyze job factors that predict development of carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

--Validate existing job analysis methods.

--Construct new job analytical methods that could be utilized in a broad array of industries to prevent these diseases.

The Utah study site will be based at the U of U's Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational & Environmental Health. The medical school's departments of Family & Preventive Medicine and Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University Hospital's Hand Clinic, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering will assist in the study.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin will collaborate on the study, too.

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