New research suggests that computer use may not cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), countering the long held belief that pounding away at the keyboard irritates the wrist.

"Computer use does not pose a severe occupational hazard for developing symptoms of CTS," concluded the study published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Rather, it suggests that the condition is linked to other medical conditions such as diabetes, smoking, arthritis and obesity.

CTS is caused by the compression of a major nerve the median nerve in the wrist.

Researchers surveyed 6,943 workers in 3,500 workplaces in Denmark in 2000.

They measured participants' tingling, numbness and pain in the right hand.

A year later they interviewed 5,658 of the initial group and measured their tingling, numbness and pain.

At the start of the study, 10.9 per cent of workers reported tingling or numbness in their right hand. Interviews showed that between 1.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent may have had carpal tunnel syndrome.

A year later, 5.5 per cent of the people had developed new symptoms. However, only 1.2 percent had median nerve problems, an indicator of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Researchers found that using the mouse increased the risk of wrist irritation. However, typing did not.