Scientists Find Link between Traveling And Anxiety

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Scientists find that people who travel for business two weeks or more a month show symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a new study published in Science Daily on January 8, 2018.

The Global Business Travel Association Foundation, recorded around 503 million person-business trips in 2016 in the U.S., compared to 488 million in 2015. “Although business travel can be seen as a job benefit and can lead to occupational advancement, there is a growing literature showing that extensive business travel is associated with risk of chronic diseases associated with lifestyle factors,” said Andrew Rundle, DrPH, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “The field of occupational travel medicine needs to expand beyond its current focus on infectious disease, cardiovascular disease risks, violence and injury to bring more focus to the behavioral and mental health consequences of business travel.”

Researchers studied de-identified health records of 18,328 employees who underwent a health assessment in 2015 through their corporate wellness work benefits program provided by EHE International health exam, which measured depressive symptoms with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), anxiety symptoms with the Generalized Anxiety Scale (GAD-7), and alcohol dependence with the CAGE scale.

Around 24 percent employees scored a score of above 4 Generalized Anxiety Scale (GAD-7), while 15 percent scored above a 4 on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), indicating mild or worse anxiety or depressive symptoms.

Among the employees who consumed alcohol, scored 2 or higher, indicating 6 percent of them dependent on alcohol. GAD-7 and PHQ-9 scores and CAGE scores of 2 or higher increased with increasing nights away from home for business travel. The recorded data was consistent with analysis of medical claims data from World Bank employees. The data showed a link between business traveling and psychological disorders related to stress among them.

According to Rundle, extensive business travel was associated with higher body mass index, obesity, and higher blood pressure.

This in turn, is increasing the demand for wearable medical devices, which allows for early diagnosis of several illnesses. Increasing prevalence of chronic diseases is boosting demand for such devices, as per Wearable Medical Devices Market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

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