Rotating shifts impact cognitive functioning

DATA from a cohort of more than 3000 people in the south of France showed those who worked rotating shifts for 10 or more years had markedly lower scores in cognitive and memory tests, equivalent to about 6.5 years of age-related decline.

However, the study showed that cognitive abilities can be recovered: after about five years without shiftwork, brain function returned.

The researchers said that the findings have implications, not only for individual workers’ quality of life but also for the wider society, given the increasing number of potentially hazardous jobs performed at night.

Occup Environ