New research project studies toluene-induced damage to the human nervous system

Toluene is one of the most common organic solvents used in paints, thinners, adhesives and as an additive in cosmetics. However, knowledge about the mechanisms of toluene’s effects on brain function in humans is still limited. Due to the frequent use of toluene in the workplace, researchers at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) aim to analyse the physiological, motor and cognitive effects as well as the symptoms in humans with toluene contact in more detail.

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New study shows relation between spinal cord injury and bladder cancer

Studies suggest that urinary bladder cancer is more likely to have a more unfavourable course in spinal cord injury patients than in non-paraplegic patients. However, many questions remain unanswered, such as the causes. A national research team with the participation of the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) has therefore analysed long-term data from patients from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with spinal cord injury who were treated without permanent catheters. The team concluded that urinary bladder cancer is a late event in the long-term course of paraplegia. Follow-up must therefore be intensified as the duration of paraplegia increases.

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Fatty liver disease promotes the formation of kidney stones

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in western countries, with an increasing incidence worldwide. Consequences of NAFLD can also include kidney disease and kidney stones, although the mechanisms for the development of these kidney complications as a result of NAFLD have not yet been fully explained. Researchers at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) have now published a paper on how fatty liver disease promotes the formation of kidney stones.

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When does liver cirrhosis develop into liver cancer? New study to identify risk factors

Worldwide, liver cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths and the incidence rate for this tumour disease is increasing. Liver cancer is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, when only systemic therapies are possible. In a new research project, researchers from the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) therefore want to identify the risk factors for the transition from liver cirrhosis to liver cancer in order to facilitate early monitoring and intervention. The project is part of the LiSyM-Cancer project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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Karolina Edlund receives funding for spatial resolution of tissue samples

The European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) regularly awards funding to researchers to be able to analyse spatial biomarkers in cancer research more precisely (European Whole Transcription Atlas Grant). This year, Karolina Edlund from the IfADo research area Toxicology is one of the winners. The scientist wants to perform spatially resolved sequencing of tissue to better understand the early forms of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).


Scientific Contact: 
Dr. Karolina Edlund
Research Associate
Phone: +49 231 1084-354
Email: edlund@ifado.de

Press Contact:
Anne Rommel
Press Officer
Phone: +49 231 1084-239
Email: rommel@ifado.de


Occupational health protection: MAK and BAT values list 2021 published

The Permanent Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area of the German Research Foundation (DFG) has presented the 57th so-called MAK and BAT Values List. The list contains 95 changes and new additions this year. The Senate Commission is organized in different working groups. IfADo is part of the Neurotoxicity and Sensory Working Group, which has been significantly involved in new limits for lead.

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How does air pollution affect the lungs and nerve cells in the brain?

Regular exposure to polluted air, especially at high levels of pollution, is associated with acute and chronic respiratory inflammation. However, the causal links between the health effects of inhaling minute pollutant particles are difficult to prove, especially for chronic effects of prolonged contact. In a new research project, the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) and Italian colleagues are investigating the effects of air pollution on the lungs and neuronal activities of the brain.

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New research project analyses different disease stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease for therapeutic steps

In a new research project, the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) and partner institutions are analysing the different stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, from benign steatosis to cancer development. The aim is to identify the mechanisms that initiate the different stages of the disease. Based on this, suitable time windows for therapeutic measures are to be developed. The project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Photo: CDC/unsplash.com

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can progress to fatty liver inflammation (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH), liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a malignant disease of the liver. Currently, there are no approved drugs for the treatment of NASH because the course of the disease process is not yet fully understood.

Previous IfADo research work has already identified six stages of how NAFLD progresses to HCC. Among other things, biomarkers were identified in the blood to be able to recognise the different stages. The aim of the current project is to find out which mechanisms trigger the transition to the different stages. On the other hand, time windows are to be identified in which drugs can be used to intervene in the course of the disease.

Until a few years ago, the keyword „fatty liver“ was immediately associated with alcohol. Today, however, it is clear that the western lifestyle with lack of exercise and a high-calorie food is also considered to be the cause of fatty liver disease, in which there is too much fat in the liver cells. NAFLD is the most common chronic liver disease in western industrialised countries.

Involved partner institutions:

  • RWTH Aachen University
  • Klinikum rechts der Isar Technische Universität München
  • Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie
Scientific Contact: 
Dr. Ahmed Ghallab
Head of Group IntravitalTox
Phone: +49 231 1084-356
Email: ghallab@ifado.de

Press Contact:
Anne Rommel
Press Officer
Phone: +49 231 1084-239
Email: rommel@ifado.de


New insights into the functioning of the liver

In Germany, as many as five million people suffer from liver diseases. The liver is a resilient and complex organ which we do not understand enough even in its basic functioning. A team at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) is now providing fundamentally new insights into the function of the liver to produce bile and transport it through ‘canaliculi’: According to the study, there is a stagnant liquid in these canaliculi and the constituents of bile move in this standing liquid primarily by diffusion. These findings overturn long-standing assumptions about how the liver secretes bile. They are published in the journal „Hepatology“.

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