Shifts at work may affect memory in people, study

Shifts at work may affect memory in people, study

According to a new study, people who work in shifts for more than a decade may suffer from loss of memory and brain power.

The study also warned of safety concerns in high-risk jobs. The study, which was published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, showed that the effects can be reversed but it might take about five years.

It is the latest research that points out the dangers of shift work that affects body's internal clock. Shift work has previously been linked to health problems like ulcers, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Experts said that little is known about its potential impact on brain function.

The team of researchers tested more than 3,000 current or retired workers in a range of industry sectors in southern France in 1996, 2001 and 2006 for long term and short term memory loss as well as processing speed and overall cognitive abilities. About half of the trial subjects were aged either 32, 42, 52 or 62 when they were first evaluated while working in shifts. Comparing the results over the long term, the team found a link between shift work and "chronic cognitive impairment".

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