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MS risk ‘increases with shift work’ (07/06/16)

New research claims the risk of developing multiple sclerosis increases with shift work due to circadian rhythm.

The study came from Swedish researchers who uncovered an association between multiple sclerosis and shift work. The researchers found that those who engage in off-hour employment prior to the age of 20 are at a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis as a result of their circadian rhythm disruption.

Previous research has associated shift work with cardiovascular disease, thyroid disorders, and cancer. Shift work is associated with disturbed melatonin secretion and an increase in inflammatory responses, which can promote disease.

The researchers examined the data from two population-based studies and compared the occurrence of multiple sclerosis among those exposed to shift work against those who have never been exposed to shift work.

Lead researcher Dr. Anna Karin Hedström said: “Our analysis revealed a significant association between working shift at a young age and occurrence of MS. Given the association was observed in two independent studies strongly supports a true relationship between shift work and disease risk.” Results showed that those in the incident MS cohort who had worked off-hour shifts for three years or longer before age 20 had a 2 fold-risk of developing MS compared with those who never worked shifts. Similarly, subjects in the prevalent cohort who engaged in shift work as teens had slightly more than a 2-fold risk of MS than subjects who never worked shifts.”

The researchers suggest that disruption of a person’s circadian rhythm may play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis, but additional research is required to determine the exact underlying mechanisms.

Source: Bel Marra Health, 07 June 2016, Mohan Garikiparithi