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Research to Reduce Computer-Related Musculoskeletal Problems

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you work long hours in front of a computer workstation that is not adjusted properly, you're at risk for musculoskeletal problems. For years, David Rempel, an ergonomics expert at the University of California, San Francisco, has worked with designers at computer companies to recommend better designs for keyboards and pointing devices that will put the hand and forearm in better postures.

Rempel: We know from some of our early work that when the wrist is in a more straight posture and not bent backwards in extension and when the forearm is rotated slightly so the palm's not pointed straight down at the desk - that's called a fully pronated position - that that will decrease some of the load on the muscles in the forearm and on the nerves.

Narrator: Rempel says his lab is looking for more intervention research.

Rempel: Randomized, control trials that demonstrate what kind of interventions are effective and which ones aren't in reducing musculoskeletal problems. I think we'll see more of that kind of research emerging over the next ten years. Not only for office work, but for construction and other kinds of work practices.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.