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Working in night shifts may up heart disease, cancer risk: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have found that working in night shifts increases risk of developing and diabetes, which may lead to heart diseases, and

The research, undertaken by scientists from (WSU) in the US, dispelled the belief that the day-night cycle of the body is driven by brain's master clock, and revealed that separate biological clocks in the liver, gut and pancreas have a mind of their own.

"No one knew that biological clocks in people's digestive organs are so profoundly and quickly changed by schedules, even though the brain's master clock barely adapts to such schedules," said from WSU.

"As a result, some biological signals in shift workers' bodies are saying it is day while other signals are saying it is night, which causes disruption of metabolism," he said.

"We believe ours is the first study to suggest a mechanism for the connection between and chronic kidney disease," said Shobhan Gaddameedhi, a at WSU.

The research also has implications for the study of other that the shift-workers are prone to including, and breast, skin and prostate

The researchers, however, said that it is first and foremost important to unravel the link between shift-work and mentality.

"It is possible that changes in the metabolism of shift workers are associated with altered activity of cellular processes that may be involved in development later in life," Gaddameedhi said.

"Once we understand those cellular processes, we could potentially identify the genes involved and use that knowledge to find ways to prevent cancer in shift workers," he added.

The study analysed the blood samples for metabolites - products of involved in digestion - from blood samples of 14 healthy volunteers who had just completed either a simulated day shift schedule or a simulated night shift schedule.

They 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.

"Twenty-seven metabolites followed a 24-hour rhythm during both the simulated night and day shift schedules," said Debra Skene, a at the in the UK.

"Of these, 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 indicated that just three days of being on a night shift schedule has the potential to disrupt metabolism," she said.

"Pinpointing the disrupted metabolic pathways will help unravel the mechanisms underlying and metabolic disorders," Skene said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 10 2018. 12:20 IST