Saturday, October 29, 2005

Do cytokines take the fun out of work?

According to this article about a study at Temple University (entitled Increase in inflammatory cytokines in median nerves in a rat model of repetitive motion injury. Phew. Try saying that...uh...twice), you can blame your lack of productivity at work on the natural "onslaught of cytokines." The article explains that cytokines help get the inflammation process going, resulting in such wonderful degenerative problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome (I'm enjoying this first hand. Sorry, I went there), tendonitis, and tennis elbow.

But the story does not end there.

Apparently, cytokines do not only cause problems in their physical manifestations, but can also effect the brain. That's right. The natural response of your body to your job's repetitive tasks not only causes you degenerative, corporeal problems -- it also causes you degenerative, psychosocial problems.

How many of us can relate to doing, or wanting to do the following:

By five weeks to eight weeks, when cytokine production reached "peak" levels, some rats curled up in a ball and slept in between tasks."

Now I try not to make a habit of sleeping at work, but sometimes it can not be helped (Just kidding, Dad. I don't ever sleep at work. That's why they make coffee).

Then how about this little nugget:

Employees may call out sick because of undefined symptoms, or slow down their work production. A low-grade depression may set in."

So, in conclusion, your job can make you verifiably depressed. Officially. Now, of course, that it is in writing.


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