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Computer Quandary

Do they or don't they cause most repetitive stress injuries?

(HealthDay) -- Everyone knows that computers can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, right? Not so fast, say some experts.

A recent Mayo Clinic study found that people who used computers for as many as seven hours a day had no increased risk of getting the disorder, reports this article from MSNBC.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve in the wrist is compressed. The disorder causes pain or numbness in the wrist and hand. It is just one disorder in a group of injuries collectively known as repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs.

At least 10 percent of the U.S. population will get carpal tunnel syndrome, the article says. But computers aren't necessarily the cause. Other factors also implicated include diabetes, pregnancy, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains and other trauma.

Dr. Nortin Hadler, a rheumatologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, points to studies from the Mayo Clinic and others in saying the idea that computers cause these injuries is a myth. It's not the computers that are the problem, he says. More likely, the problem is stress from demanding bosses or the threat of being laid off.

Others disagree, saying many studies clearly point to a connection between computer use and RSIs.

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