A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating an Alternative Mouse or Forearm Support on Change in Median and Ulnar Nerve Motor Latency at the Wrist

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BackgroundThe purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an alternative mouse and/or a forearm support board on nerve function at the wrist among engineers.MethodsThis randomized controlled intervention trial followed 206 engineers for 1 year. Distal motor latency (DML) at baseline and follow-up was conducted for the median and ulnar nerves at the right wrist.ResultsOne hundred fifty-four subjects agreed to a nerve conduction study at the beginning and end of the study period. Those who received the alternative mouse had a protective effect (OR = 0.47, 95% CI 0.22-0.98) on change in the right ulnar DML. There was no significant effect on the median nerve DML. The forearm support board had no significant effect on the median or ulnar nerve DML.ConclusionsIn engineers who use a computer for more than 20 hr per week, an alternative mouse may have a protective effect for ulnar nerve function at the wrist. No protective effect of a forearm support board was found for the median nerve. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:304-310, 2009. ©2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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