Night-Shift Work Linked to Lower Parkinson Disease Risk

Women who sleep six hours or less each night also have lower risk of Parkinson disease

FRIDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women who regularly work rotating night shifts or who sleep for fewer hours a night than other women have a lower risk of developing Parkinson disease, according to a study in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues examined data from 84,794 female nurses enrolled in the U.S. Nurses' Health Study who reported in 1988 that they had done years of night-shift work.

The researchers found 181 cases of Parkinson disease by 2000. After adjusting for age and smoking, nurses with at least 15 years of night-shift work had a 50 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson disease compared with nurses who had never worked rotating night shifts. Nurses who slept nine hours a night or more had a significantly higher risk of Parkinson disease compared with nurses who slept six hours or less (relative risk 1.84).

"These data suggest that working night shifts may be protective against Parkinson disease or that low tolerance for night-shift work is an early marker of Parkinson disease," Chen and colleagues conclude. "Conversely, habitual longer sleep duration may be an earlier marker of Parkinson disease."

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