Precarious employment conditions can increase risk of early death

People without a secure job contract can reduce their risk of premature death by 20 per cent if they gain permanent employment, a study from Karolinska Institutet published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community reports. According to the researchers, the results indicate that job security on the Swedish labour market needs to improve.

Precarious employment is a term that is used to describe jobs with short contracts (e.g. temping), low wages and a lack of influence and rights, all of which lead to a working life without predictability and security.

In the present study, the researchers have examined how this affects the risk of death.

“This is the first study to show that changing from precarious employment to secure employment can reduce the risk of death,” says the paper’s last author Theo Bodin, assistant professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. “It’s the same as saying that the risk of early death is higher if one keeps working in jobs without a secure employment contract.”

The researchers used registry data from over 250,000 workers in Sweden between the ages of 20 and 55 gathered over a period from 2005 to 2017. The study included people who worked under insecure working conditions and who then shifted to secure working conditions.

Those who switched from precarious to secure employment had a 20 percent lower risk of death, regardless of what happened afterward, compared to those who remained in precarious employment. If they remained in secure employment for 12 years, the risk of death decreased by 30 percent.

“Using this large population database allowed us to take account of many factors that could influence mortality, such as age, other diseases that workers can suffer from or life changes like divorce,” explains Nuria Matilla-Santander, assistant professor at the same institute and the study’s first author. “Because of the methods we used, we can be relatively certain that the difference in mortality is due to the precariousness of employment rather than individual factors.”

She continues: “The results are important since they show that the elevated mortality rate observed in workers can be avoided. If we reduce precariousness in the labour market, we can avoid premature deaths in Sweden.”

Dr Matilla-Santander says that the next stage of the research is to examine the specific causes of mortality in this regard.

The study was mainly financed by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte). The researchers report no conflicts of interest.


Heart conditions and death due to air pollution have risen 30% since 1990: study

Air pollution, especially its tiniest particles, has contributed to a 30% global rise in heart-related disabilities and death since 1990, a new study has found.

The pollution connection affected men more than women, while poorer regions of the world were hit harder that wealthier areas, researchers said in the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The most notable culprit, particulate matter pollution, shows up outside in dirt, dust, soot or smoke from coal- and gas-fueled power plants, vehicle emissions, agriculture, dust, pollen and wildfire smoke, while cooking or heating by the use of coal or wood creates the matter inside.

These tiny particles are not picked up by the body’s defenses, and easily get inhaled, making their way into the lungs and bloodstream. They have long been documented as a contributor to numerous health conditions and premature death.

For the study, researchers looked at 30 years of data from the Global Burden of Disease Study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Senior author Dr. Farshad Farzadfar of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran said his team found a 43% increase among men compared to a 28% increase among women for certain cardiovascular conditions.

Over the three-decade span, deaths and disability from outdoor particulate matter rose, while the indoor version declined, the researchers found. Those in wealthier regions lived longer, but with a higher rate of disability, while poorer areas showed fewer years lived with disability but more premature death.

“The reason for the decrease in the burden of household air pollution from solid fuels might be better access and use of cleaner fuels, such as refined biomass, ethanol, liquefied petroleum gas, solar and electricity,” Farzadfar said, along with better stoves and improved ventilation.

“The shifting pattern from household air pollution due to solid fuels to outdoor, ambient (particulate matter) pollution has important public policy implications,” he concluded.


What to know about atelectasis

Atelectasis is when the airways or air sacs in the lungs collapse or do not fully expand. Symptoms of atelectasis can include shallow breathing, coughing, and wheezing.

Sometimes, atelectasis may also be called total or partial lung collapse. Atelectasis may affect both lungs or only part of them, with several causes and types.

Around 90% of people who are placed under general anesthetic during surgery experience atelectasis afterward. Atelectasis is usually reversible. However, without medical care, it can lead to potentially fatal complications

In this article, we look at the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and outlook of atelectasis.

The types of atelectasis sit within four categories based on the conditions that cause them.

NonobstructiveTypes of nonobstructive atelectasis include:

  • Compression: Due to increased pressure on the lungs.
  • Adhesive: Caused by dysfunction or deficiency of pulmonary surfactant. This is a soap-like substance that creates surface tension in the air sacs, helping them stay open.
  • Cicatrization: Occurs due to scarring, which causes the lungs to shrink.
  • Relaxation: The loss of contact between the membranes connecting to the chest wall, called the parietal pleura, and the membranes covering the lungs, known as the visceral pleura.
  • Replacement atelectasis: Occurs when tumors fill or replace the air sacs.

ObstructiveObstructive atelectasis is also called resorptive atelectasis.

An obstruction triggers a partial or complete lack of ventilation to the impacted area, though gas uptake into the blood still occurs.

When all of the gas is absorbed, the air sacs eventually collapse as the obstruction prevents more gas from entering.

PostoperativePostoperative atelectasis usually develops within 72 hours of receiving general anesthesia because of altered gas exchange during sedation.

RoundedRounded atelectasis is less common than other forms.

It occurs due to the folding of the lung tissue to the membranes covering the lungs and connecting them to the chest wall, known as the external pleura.

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