Support for the hypothesis that electro-stimulation is responsible for **Lipoatrophia semicircularis**
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Medical hypotheses. - Edinburgh
, p. 802-806
University of Antwerp
Lipoatrophia semicircularis (L.s.) is a idiopathic condition characterised by semicircular impressions of the skin, usually at the front and sides of both thighs. It was first described some 35 years ago but only as a case study where a few subjects with L.s. were described. Later on some more cases were diagnosed and described but their number remained low. It is only over the past ten years that an outburst of L.s. was observed. This was first seen in Belgium, later on also in other countries (e.g., Spain) where several hundreds of individuals were diagnosed with L.s. All these subjects belonged to the administrative personnel of diverse companies indicating that this condition is essentially office and job related. Afflicted subjects were mainly women working with computers or with other electrical devices placed on their desk. Furthermore, L.s. was invariably diagnosed after moving into new or renovated office buildings. Hypotheses have been put forward to explain the appearance of L. semicircularis. These hypotheses involve mechanical pressure, blood circulation problems, disturbance of thermal energy exchange and electrostatic discharges or other electric phenomena. In this paper, these hypotheses are considered and new data presented in favour of an electric origin of L.s. Earlier published observations on the influence of electric fields from 50 Hz, 230 V electrical cables and cables for data transmission remain valid, whereas other hypotheses seem to be invalidated by experience. The fact that for example electric devices are a constant factor in the appearance of L.s., that the cable type apparently plays an important role as well as the electric conductivity of the desktops on which L.s. subjects are sitting and that the presence of ionisators and the ambient relative humidity also proved to be determinative are arguments that the electric environment is on the origin of the L.s. condition. However, evidence was obtained that L.s. is most probably not related to electrostatic discharges but other phenomena of electro-stimulation are nevertheless possible. For example, formation of atmospheric air ions at the edge of the desk or on dust particles on their surface and consequently charging of the skin followed by discharges in the skin may be proposed as the main cause of L. semicircularis. This means that it is essential to control the electric environment of offices to minimize the risk of L. semicircularis.