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MINI SYMPOSIA

A number of Mini-Symposia will be held as part of the EPICOH 2019 Conference. Descriptions of those confirmed are below.

Please check back regularly as more will be added.

 

OMEGA-NET

OMEGA-NET (The Network on the Coordination and Harmonisation of European Occupational Cohorts) is a 4-year EU Cost Action that seeks to create a network to optimize and integrate occupational, industrial, and population cohorts, and to provide a foundation for an enhanced evidence base for the identification of health risks and gains related to occupation and employment to foster safe and healthy preventive strategies and policies.  The objectives of the OMEGA-NET symposium are to present ongoing work in the network as well as related research projects involving occupational cohort studies, data pooling, and data harmonization.

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Advances in neurodegenerative disease epidemiology

Associations between occupational exposures and neurodegenerative disorders (including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases) have not been studied as extensively as cancer and respiratory diseases and their causes remain largely unknown. Due to complicated clinical diagnosis and lack of registries, case ascertainment is a limiting factor when studying neurodegenerative disorders. Case-control studies are best suited for inclusion of incident cases, but prone to recall bias. Studies on neurodegenerative disorders may additionally suffer from lack of recall because of disease characteristics. Cohort studies are free from recall bias and offer opportunities to study associations with occupational exposures. Moreover, baseline blood may be informative about exposures (e.g. lead) well before disease onset. Although occupational information collected in most cohorts is limited, successful studies in cancer and respiratory epidemiology have shown that occupational studies in general populations can be informative. Because each study design has its advantages and disadvantages, neurodegenerative disorders should be looked at more in a range of (occupational) studies to gain better understanding of the aetiology. Furthermore, advanced exposure assessment methods are essential to identify risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases.

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Military Epidemiology – what can we learn from the past to help and support future generations of military personnel?

This mini-symposium will build on mini-symposia with a similar focus that we have presented at previous EPICOH conferences and will provide EPICOH delegates with an overview of current issues in military epidemiology, focusing on how past conflicts can influence how we support current and future service personnel and veterans. Taken together, the armed forces and veterans are a significant proportion of the workforce in many countries.  This mini-symposium will have representation from three of the nations in the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, which over the years have been involved in a number of major conflicts. It will show that lessons from the long-term effects of the Vietnam and First Gulf War conflicts can be learned to the benefit of those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, thus enabling comparisons within and across nations and conflicts.

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Exposure Assessment in Epidemiological Studies of Cancer: importance and implications for hazard and risk evaluation

The quality of exposure assessment is a fundamental (yet often overlooked) consideration in the design and evaluation of human observational studies. The need for high quality exposure assessment is particularly relevant for outcomes with long latency periods, such as cancer, where detailed information on past exposures to a hazard are often missing and must be indirectly estimated or modelled. The goal of this symposium is to consider (and emphasize the importance of) high-quality exposure assessment in epidemiological studies of cancer, ​for various occupational hazards. Outputs will inform: 1) methods to evaluate exposure assessment quality in epidemiological studies (e.g., for use in hazard and risk assessment), and 2) strategies for individual researchers to consider in the design and conduct of future research.

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Climate Change threats to Occupational Health, Safety, Productivity and Social Well-being: proactive and preventive solutions needed now

This topic is timely as the accumulating analyses of climate change threats increasingly identify occupational heat exposure as an important health risk, which will also undermine local socio-economic development. Other occupational health risks will be discussed (e.g. extreme weather injuries, vector-borne disease risks, and emergency worker health hazards). The overall threat and climate change mitigation as a preventive solution will be analyzed with quantitative modelling. Participants from five major countries of the world will present perspectives of the issues from their different viewpoints, and the mixture of disciplines of speakers will provide new insights. The lack of current descriptive occupational epidemiology studies of different workplace hazards linked to climate change will be highlighted. Specific gaps will be described in the evidence available for quantitative occupational health impact assessments. Climate change Adaptation examples will be shown as well as Mitigation solutions to climate change, carried out in a "Just Transition" manner.

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