J Clin Neurol.  2010 Jun;6(2):64-72. 10.3988/jcn.2010.6.2.64.

Occupational Neurologic Disorders in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Korea. yanghokm@ulsan.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Dongguk University School of Medicine, Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 3Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea.

Abstract

This article presents a schematic review of the clinical manifestations of occupational neurologic disorders in Korea and discusses the toxicologic implications of these conditions. Vascular encephalopathy, parkinsonism, chronic toxic encephalopathy, cerebellar dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy, and neurodegenerative diseases are common presentations of occupational neurotoxic syndromes in Korea. Few neurotoxins cause patients to present with pathognomic neurologic syndrome. Detailed neurologic examinations and categorization of the clinical manifestations of neurologic disorders will improve the clinical management of occupational neurologic diseases. Physicians must be aware of the typical signs and symptoms of possible exposure to neurotoxins, and they should also pay attention to less-typical, rather-vague symptoms and signs in workers because the toxicologic characteristics of occupational neurologic diseases in Korea have changed from typical patterns to less-typical or equivocal patterns. This shift is likely to be due to several years of low-dose exposure, perhaps combined with the effects of aging, and new types of possibly toxicant-related neurodegenerative diseases. Close collaboration between neurologists and occupational physicians is needed to determine whether neurologic disorders are work-related.

Keyword

occupational disease; neurologic disorders; toxicology
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