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Assess Health Before Wind Turbines Spin

Waubra

Pre Construction Health Assessments 

by Dr. Sarah Laurie

What follows are suggestions based on the present state of our collective knowledge and will need to be adapted according to individual clinical circumstances and presenting pathology. 13th September, 2012 (or view the pdf version).

Clinical History — Useful specific features to record include:

  • history of motion sickness, migraines, existing inner ear conditions;
  • documentation of past noise exposure;  and sensitivity to noise
  • documentation of past & current medical and psychiatric conditions, including particularly hypertension, ischemic heart disease, arrythmias, diabetes, thyroid disorders, inflammatory disorders, epilepsy, autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Depression.

Examination

  • blood pressure;
  • cognitive assessment (in order to detect subtle changes in cognition and memory which have been observed to occur post exposure);  for example either or both those listed below:

–The Montreal Cognitive Assessment Battery:  can identify mild cognitive impairment,  http://www.mocatest.org/
–The Trailmaking test:  a timed, simple test of spatial and divided attention

  • mental health assessment questionnaires (for later comparison with repeat testing), to formally document current mental state with particular reference to validated questionnaires screening for the presence of anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale, again, for later comparison with repeat testing

Baseline Pre-Exposure Investigations to be Considered:

  • baseline ECG (arrythmias are commonly being reported, and heart attacks and Tako Tsubo episodes are being reported to occur in association with operating wind turbines and others exposed to infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) especially in quiet country environments);
  • baseline routine blood tests including kidney and liver function, complete blood picture, thyroid function including T3 and T4, fasting blood sugar and Hba1c, and cholesterol;
focal organ damage has been noted with chronic exposure to infrasound in animal studies (a Russian study–no. 58–cited in “Infrasound – Brief Review of Toxicological Literature“), and metabolic abnormalities of blood sugar regulation and thyroid function have been reported by a number of clinicians and have been included in Professor Robert McMurtry’s proposed Case Definition
  • baseline night time salivary cortisol (for comparison with post exposure to ILFN).  A number of these investigations have been done in Ontario and in the US and have shown marked differences between exposed and non exposed states,  (see also section 10 of Leventhall’s 2003 DEFRA review)
  • Baseline comprehensive hearing tests by an audiologist and review by ENT specialist if a history of pre existing inner ear pathology has been noted.  People with preexisting inner ear pathology or industrial deafness seem to be more susceptible to developing problems, and numerous residents have developed abnormalities having previously had normal hearing.
  • Baseline comprehensive visual tests, by an optometrist and/or review by existing opthalmologist
  • Cardiac Echocardiography, with particular attention to pericardial thickness and the state of the cardiac valves.  Abnormalities of collagen (and other abnormalities) have been reported in association with long term exposure to infrasound and low frequency noise by Professor Mariana Alves Pereira, and have been given the name of Vibro Acoustic Disease (or its abbreviated form: VAD).   Recently abnormalities of mitral and triscuspid valves in German citizens exposed long term (18 years) to much smaller wind turbines have been reported to Dr. Laurie by those residents.  Concurrently, a Taiwanese research team has just shown abnormalities in echocardiographs of workers with higher ILFN doses.

Professor Alves Pereira has also documented abnormal pericardial thickness and mitral valve abnormality in a child exposed to an ILFN rich environment in utero and post-conception for 10 years. Professor Pereira presented to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council workshop in Canberra on June 7th, 2011.

Once turbines begin operation, see Assess Health After Operations Start

 

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