The Competence Centre Medicine comprises the following sections
The Competence Centre Medicine is focused on occupational lung and airway diseases as well as occupational skin diseases and cancer. The problems addressed range from prevention of and compensation for diseases caused by silica dust, asbestos and organic dusts, through occupational allergies, to acute and chronic effects of irritants. The centre uses a large number of cutting-edge medical diagnostic methods, in some cases in conjunction with the Bergmannsheil University Hospital, in order to prevent and assess occupational diseases. Among these, non-invasive diagnostic methods are growing in importance.
In the area of clinical and experimental occupational dermatology, studies are performed into occupational skin diseases and their prevention. Clinical studies are also conducted into skin cancer caused by UV radiation, and experimental in vivo and in vitro studies into penetration of the skin by hazardous substances. Dermatological assessments are performed in order to assess the occupational contribution to diseases. For particular allergological issues, patients are tested with substances of their own for possible contact allergies of occupational origin. For this purpose, the expertise in occupational dermatology and allergology is combined with the IPA’s analytical and toxicological expertise.
Experimental occupational medicine focuses on clarifying the acute effects and their mechanisms following occupational exposure to hazardous substances. Examples of the issues to be addressed are the inflammatory effects of (nano-)particles and the mutagenic action of carcinogens in cells, and also acute effects of irritants in the human respiratory tract. Methods employed range from experiments on cell cultures to controlled studies on human study participants in the exposure laboratory (ExpoLab). In the latter, the effects of multiple exposures, such as to particles, hazardous substances or allergens, can be studied simultaneously under highly standardized exposure conditions.
The expertise of the Competence Centre Medicine is exploited on a large scale in consulting with the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) and the individual accident insurance institutions on issues of prevention and compensation. In addition, researchers at the competence centre are active on further state and research advisory committees.
Besides conducting research studies, the occupational physicians are engaged in medical surveillance of employees of various companies.