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Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Apr 15;163(8):726-30. Epub 2006 Feb 22.

A prospective study of night shift work, sleep duration, and risk of Parkinson's disease.

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Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


The authors prospectively investigated whether working rotating night shifts was associated with the risk of Parkinson's disease among 84,794 female nurses who reported years of night shift work in 1988 (the US Nurses' Health Study). After 975,912 person-years of follow-up (1988-2000), 181 incident Parkinson's disease cases were documented. Compared with nurses who never worked rotating night shifts, those with 15 years or more of night shift work had a 50% lower risk of Parkinson's disease after adjustment for age and smoking (95% confidence interval: 0.26, 0.97; p(trend) = 0.01). Sleep duration was positively associated with Parkinson's disease risk: The relative risk was 1.84 (95% confidence interval: 0.99, 3.42) when comparing nurses who reported 9 or more hours of sleep per day with those who slept 6 hours or less (p(trend) = 0.005). These data suggest that working night shifts may be protective against Parkinson's disease or that low tolerance for night shift work is an early marker of Parkinson's disease. Conversely, habitual longer sleep duration may be an earlier marker of Parkinson's disease. Because of the novelty and the exploratory nature of these findings, confirmation is needed.

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