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Mystery in the Skin

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[Color emphasis added by KE]

Screen dermatitis, the effect of computer work on human skin.

An interview with associate professor Olle Johansson at the Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Mr. Helge Tiainen, former head of the Nokia Consumer Electronics in Sweden once said that "The results of Olle Johansson's research could very well deeply shake the world's electronics industry, but mankind still has to know!"

Some interests might feel threatened by the results of his research, but professor Johansson has been outspoken and committed to this scientific field. He started in the 1980's and he has since been continuously very productive and an advocate for the electrosensitive persons in Sweden as well as around the world. This interview will go into what professor Johansson has discovered in the skin of those injured by computer monitors, and also what remains to be done.

He has written a number of important scientific original articles as well as a great number of commentaries and debate articles in the daily newspapers. He has been awarded a series of prestigious awards, such as the Nokia Monitor Award, the Environmental/Medicin Award from the Swedish Cancer and Allergy Foundation and the SIF-Award (The Swedish Clerical and Technical Employees Union).

Altogether, his publication list within the field of neuroscience contains more than 450 original papers, review articles and conference summaries, and he has been a co-author of papers in high-impact journals, such as Nature and Science. His skill as a lecturer is very well documented and his overall knowledge in the areas of the neurosciences, health effects of electromagnetic fields, and in experimental dermatology is esteemed at the highest level.

What made you first interested in studying people who had suffered injuries from working in front of computer monitors?

Professor Johansson:
It all started in the 1980's after having listened to a radio programme in which Ms Kajsa Vedin from Gothenburg, herself very active from a union point of view and the author of an excellent analysis entitled "In the shadow of a microchip" (about the occupational risks involved in computer-based work), asked for expertise in neurology. As a neuroscientist I thought I was close enough, and I strongly believed that the issues she wanted to highlight, using the conventional repertoire of scientific "tools", ought to be easily investigated. I did not realise at all that there were other forces not wanting to see such studies initiated, but very soon I understood that these very clear-cut and simple and obvious investigations proposed by Kajsa Vedin would be very, very hard to start.
The same type of propositions soon were brought forward by many other persons including the two journalists Gunni Nordstrom and Carl von Schéele, who later published their first book, "Sjuk av bildskarm" ("Ill from VDT work"; Tidens Forlag, 1989, ISBN 91-550-3484-5). Unfortunately, most of these proposed studies are still not brought into life, 15 years later.

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Updated 15th April 2011 at 06:44 by Karen

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