Shiftwork linked to reduced cognition

An observational study published today found the impact of rotating shiftwork on brain power was strongest after 10 years of doing it.

However, people start to recover five years after ceasing the work, the researchers found.

The study tested the long- and short-term memory, processing speed and overall cognitive abilities of more than 3000 people at three five-year intervals.

Those in shiftwork did worse than those working normal office hours, and those who had been doing shiftwork for longer than 10 years did worse than other shiftworkers.

As the study is observational only, it is possible the relationship between shiftwork and impaired brain function was coincidental rather than causal, the researchers cautioned.

Other research has linked vitamin D deficiency caused by shiftwork to poor cognitive ability, they pointed out.

However, the physiological stress caused by disruption of the body clock in shiftwork, could