Working Night Shifts May Increase Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer
Obesity, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes – the risk of all these diseases goes up if you work night shifts. I’m not saying this to be an alarmist. A study, undertaken by scientists from Washington State University (WSU), says this.
The research revealed that different organs have a mind of their own and there is a separate biological clock for the liver, gut, and pancreas. This negates the age-old notion that our body is driven by the brain’s master clock.
Hans Van Dongen from the university explained that before this it wasn’t known that biological clocks in people’s digestive systems quickly change according to our night work schedules, but the brain’s master clock barely adapts to such schedules. PTI quoted him as saying:
The study found that working night shifts can increase risk of obesity and diabetes, which may lead to heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Another professor at the university, Shobhan Gaddmeedhi, said that this was the first time that a link between shift work and kidney disease has been found.
The study analysed the blood samples for metabolites - products of chemical reactions involved in digestion - from blood samples of 14 healthy volunteers who had just completed either a simulated day shift schedule or a simulated night shift schedule.
They found that, following the night shift schedule, 24-hour rhythms in metabolites related to the digestive system had shifted by a full 12 hours, even though the master biological clock in participants’ brains had only moved by about two hours.