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Employees Working During Night Shifts May Suffer From Life Threatening Diseases: WSU Scientists Claim

KARACHI- Scientists from Washington State University (WSU), US, have founded that working in night shifts increases the risk of developing obesity and diabetes, which may lead to heart and kidney diseases, stroke and various types of cancers.

The research also dissipated the belief that, our body’s day and night cycle is driven by the brain’s master clock, and revealed that separate biological clocks are present in the liver, gut and pancreas, having a mind of their own.

Scientist, Hans Van Dongen stated that, “No one knew that biological clocks in people’s digestive organs are so profoundly and quickly changed by a shift in their work schedules, even though the brain’s master clock barely adapts to such schedules. As a result, biological signals in get mixed up, causing disruption of metabolism.”

Prof Shobhan Gaddameedhi, WSU, regarding this research, informed that they believe this is the first study to suggest a mechanism for the connection between shift work and chronic kidney diseases.”

However, researchers said that it is most important to unravel the link between shift-work and mentality. They mentioned that, there is a possibility of changes within the metabolism of shift workers due to the altered activity of cellular processes that may be involved in cancer development later onwards. Once those cellular processes are clarified, identification of the involved genes will be easier, and this knowledge could help in preventing cancer in night shift workers.

During this study, 14 blood samples were also analyzed for metabolites – products of chemical reactions involved in digestion; from workers who had just completed either a simulated day shift schedule or a simulated night shift schedule. Researchers 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.

Prof Debra Skene, University of Surrey, UK, informed that, 27 metabolites followed a 24-hour rhythm during both the simulated night and day shift schedules. Out of the total, 24 displayed a dramatic 12-hour shift in rhythm following the simulated night shift schedule, which was not observed following the day shift schedule.

This finding indicated that, just 3 days of being on a night shift schedule has a potential to disrupt the human body’s metabolism. According to Prof Skene, this revelation could help in pointing the disrupted metabolic pathways, to decipher the mechanisms underlying shift work and metabolic disorders.


July 30, 2018

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