Neurcognitive, neuroanatomical and neuroendocrine effects of long-term rotating shift work

Kennedy, Gerard, Pavlis, Alexia, Thompson, Bruce, Pierce, Robert, Howard, Mark and Briellmann, Regula (2007) Neurcognitive, neuroanatomical and neuroendocrine effects of long-term rotating shift work. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 50 (1). A30-A30. ISSN 1446-9235


Sleep disruption, like that experienced by long-term rotating shift workers, is a physiological stressor which causes a variety of adverse physical, psychological and cognitive symptoms. Some cognitive symptoms are thought to be mediated by the direct effect of stress hormones on the hippocampus (fig.1). Regardless of its source, stress provokes endocrine responses in the body that affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Whereas acute activation of the HPA axis adaptively activates the body’s stress response by increasing cortisol production, prolonged or repeated activation is detrimental to health due to dysregulation of the HPA axis. Cortisol affects the hippocampus, which has a high concentration of glucocorticoid receptors and plays a prominent role in the down-regulation of the HPA axis. Overstimulation of glucocortioid receptors can cause hippocampal atrophy and related cognitive deficits. Research has found that air crew with inadequate recovery time between outbound, transmeridian long-haul flights showed performance decrements on visual memory tasks, reduced hippocampal volumes and increased cortisol levels.1,2 The current study aimed to investigate whether work-related sleep disruption caused similar effects among rotating shift-workers from outside the flight industry (nurses).

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > RFCD Classification > 380000 Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
Historical > SEO Classification > 9299 Other Health
Keywords ResPubID13300, sleep disruption, shift workers, physiological effects, psychological effects
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