Tuesday April 23, 2019
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Night Shifts, Jet Leg Disrupt Rhythm of Genes

A University of Surrey study has found that the daily rhythms of our genes are disrupted when sleep times shift

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

For those who work in night shifts or miss on sleep owing to heavy air travel, it is time to set the clock right to get rhythm of your genes back in shape.

A University of Surrey study has found that the daily rhythms of our genes are disrupted when sleep times shift.

“This research may help us understand the negative health outcomes associated with shift work, jet lag and other conditions in which the rhythms of our genes are disrupted,” said professor Derk-Jan Dijk from the sleep research centre at University of Surrey, England.

Researchers placed 22 participants on a 28-hour day in a controlled environment without a natural light-dark cycle.

As a result, their sleep-wake cycle was delayed by four hours each day.

Genes are a part of DNA/RNA.
Genes- A segment of DNA. Pixabay

The team then collected blood samples to measure the participants’ rhythms of gene expression.

During this disruption of sleep timing, there was a six-fold reduction in the number of genes that displayed a circadian rhythm (internal body clock with 24-hour cycle), said the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Over 97 percent of rhythmic genes became out of sync with mistimed sleep and this really explains why we feel so bad during jet lag, or if we have to work irregular shifts,” said co-author Simon Archer from the school of biosciences and medicine.

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The study also revealed which genes may be regulated by sleep-wake cycles and which are regulated by central body clocks.

This finding provides new clues about sleep’s function as separate from the circadian clock.

“The results also imply that sleep-wake schedules can be used to influence rhythmicity in many biological processes, which may be very relevant for conditions in which our body clocks are altered, such as in aging,” added professor Derk-Jan Dijk. (IANS)

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Night Shifts During Pregnancy up Miscarriage Risk: Study

For the study, the researchers included nearly 23,000 pregnant women

Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy and affects an estimated one in four pregnancies. Pixabay

Women who do two or more night shifts a week during pregnancy are likely to have an increased risk of miscarriage, says a new study.

This is because women working at night are exposed to artificial light which disrupts their circadian rhythm or body clock and decreases the release of melatonin — a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles and helps in maintaining a successful pregnancy, according to the study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal.

The findings showed that after the eighth week of pregnancy, women who had worked two or more night shifts had a 32 per cent higher risk of miscarriage compared with women who had not worked any night shifts.

A study shows that radiations from gadgets may increase the risk of miscarriage.
Representational image. IANS

“This may be explained by the decline in the proportion of chromosomally abnormal foetuses with gestational age, which makes an association with environmental exposure more easily detectable among later miscarriages,” said researchers from the Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark.

This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish cause.

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Previous studies have also stated that women who work in night shifts, even occasionally, are at an increased risk of early menopause, which can heighten the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.

For the study, the researchers included nearly 23,000 pregnant women. (IANS)