Report from SIIM: Treadmill and music at reading station spell health, happiness

June 8, 2009
John C. Hayes

Radiologists who want to shed a few pounds while working might want to consider stepping onto a unique “walkstation” treadmill while they’re reading images, according to a study presented at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine meeting. While they’re at it, they may want to tune into classical music, which another study found could improve mood and job satisfaction.

Radiologists who want to shed a few pounds while working might want to consider stepping onto a unique "walkstation" treadmill while they're reading images, according to a study presented at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine meeting. While they're at it, they may want to tune into classical music, which another study found could improve mood and job satisfaction.

The studies presented Friday at a scientific session were among the quirkier of the reports at this year's SIIM. The walkstation study found an increase in sensitivity among a group of 20 radiologists who read chest radiographs while walking at 1 mph compared with sitting and standing. The music study evaluated mood among 10 radiologists who listened to baroque music while reading images. Seven of them said it improved their mood, and six said it improved their job satisfaction.

The walkstation study also checked heart and blood pressure rates for the participants. Researchers found a slight increase in systolic blood pressure and heart rate when the radiologists were dictating studies. Blood pressure and heart rate didn't increase during image interpretation and may have decreased slightly at its completion, said the presenter, Dr. Amee Patel, a resident at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Both studies cited earlier work showing benefits of music and exercise in a work environment.

A previous study suggested an increase in energy expenditure from 72 kcal/h while sitting to 191 kcal/h when walking at a rate of 1.1 mph, along with an increase in metabolic rate by as much as 154%, Patel said (Levine JA, Miller JM. The energy expenditure of using a ‘walk-and-work' desk for office workers with obesity. Br J Sports Med 2007;41(9):558-561).

The average sensitivity for the detection of lung nodules was 80% for walking, 76% for standing, and 71% when sitting. The specificity, however, was 56% for walking, 69% for standing, and 77% for sitting.

Studies evaluating the physiological effects of music have found that listening to classical music lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases neural activity in areas used for attention and memory formation, said the presenter of the music study, Dr. Paras Lakhani, a radiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The study used classical baroque from the Pandora site. A show of hands and comments from the audience found general support for the idea of listening to music while working.