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Shift work may affect your genes: study

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Guildford, England – Shift work may throw off the daily rhythm of the body’s genes, according to a new study from the University of Surrey.

As part of the study, 22 people in a controlled environment were put on a schedule that delayed their sleep-wake hour by four hours each night until they reached the point when they were sleeping during the day. Blood samples taken at that point showed their genes had been disrupted, which upset the body’s natural processes, a press release states.

Researchers were able to distinguish which genes were controlled by the sleep-wake cycle as opposed to circadian rhythms, and said the findings may help them better understand the link between shift work and adverse health effects.

The study was published online Jan. 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.