SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- A large-scale study demonstrates that working antisocial hours is strongly associated with brain damage and cognitive malfunction.
The study warns that long-term shift work accelerates the aging of the brain and dulls intellectual ability.
While the body’s internal clock is designed to be active in the day and asleep at night, working against the body clock leads to damaging effects on the body, scientists say.
A joint research team at the Swansea University and the University of Toulouse examined three thousand people in France via tests of memory, speed of thought and wider cognitive ability.
The study showed that a decade of shift work aged the brain by more than six years, according to the study report which appeared in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The research also revealed that there was some recovery after those people who quit shift work, but it took five years to return to normal.
The recent study once again shows the importance of sleep and the effect sleep deprivation can have on the brain.
Abnormal sleep patterns can also contribute to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, experts say.
“Poor sleep can affect our immune systems, our cardiovascular health, weight and, of course, memories. But we still don’t know why,” said a neurologist and sleep specialist with Integrated Sleep Services in Alexandria, Virginia Dr. Neal Maru.
“Studies have shown poor sleep can cause protein buildup in the brain that attacks brain cells. So we’re still trying to put the puzzle together,” Dr. Maru explained.
An earlier study had demonstrated that sleep could also help neurons form minuscule connections between brain cells, known as dendritic spines, which may facilitate long-term memory.
A number of studies also uncovered a link between the night shift work and higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and cancer.
A study carried out by the Danish Cancer Society also unveiled that night shift woman workers were threatened by a 40-percent higher risk of breast cancer compared with peers who worked days.