Shift work can cause temporary disruption - Mitrefinch

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Shift work can cause temporary disruption

Published: June 6, 2016

Working shifts can lead to temporary disruption, according to new scientific research.

The study, to be published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, analysed data from 7,000 individuals to assess whether shift working patterns can cause loss of cognitive function.

Each subject took a Trail Making Test, which consisted of two parts – the first involved putting numbered circles in order, while the second required them to alternate between numbers and letters in ascending order.

The results suggested cognitive impairment was seen in those working irregular shifts.

However, the study did conclude that the impact of working shifts was not permanent as shift workers who had ceased their irregular patterns more than five years ago completed the test as quickly as the non-shift workers.

Dr Christian Benedict, associate professor at Uppsala University, said: “Our results indicate that shift work is linked to poorer performance on a test that is frequently used to screen for cognitive impairment in humans.

“The poorer performance was only observed in current shift workers and those who worked shifts during the past five years.

“In contrast, no difference was observed between non-shift workers and those who had quit shift work more than five years ago.

“The latter could suggest that it may take at least five years for previous shift workers to recover brain functions that are relevant to the performance on this test.”

Mitrefinch’s rota and absence management software can help ensure companies are able to plan ahead and develop workable shift patterns for staff.

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