Science - March 10, 2005

Fewer RSI cases

The number of students with RSI complaints at Wageningen University has dropped in the last few years. The complaints have also become less serious, as students now go to the student doctor at an earlier stage.

Last year student doctor André Godkewitsch recorded almost seventy new cases of students with RSI-related complaints. That is low compared with the peak numbers in 2001 and 2002, when more than one hundred cases were registered. But the real numbers are probably higher, thinks Godkewitsch, because not all students who have problems come for help. Often they only go to the student doctor once they start to fall behind with their studies. Most students who have RSI problems are master’s students who are doing their dissertation.

Godkewitsch is pleased with the decrease, which he thinks comes not only from improved work places but also through better information. ‘We are seeing that the problem is taken more seriously at an early stage. Not only are there fewer people with complaints, but also the new cases have less serious symptoms. We used to see people who had already reached the chronic phase and had already had problems for a while. Now people come after just one or two weeks, which means they also recover far quicker.’ / JH

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