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Shift work may increase risk for type 2 diabetes

Shift work
may increase risk
for type 2 diabetes

Shift workers, especially those who work rotating shifts, are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China reviewed 12 international studies that involved more than 226,000 people, 15,000 of whom had diabetes. They took into account the participants’ working hours, their body mass index, their level of physical activity, and their family history of diabetes.


Shift workers were 9 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes compared with those who worked regular office hours, the study found. Men who worked shifts faced a 34 percent increased risk for diabetes. Both men and women whose shifts rotated, meaning they regularly worked different hours, had an increased diabetes risk of 42 percent.

Rotating shifts could disrupt the body’s clock and alter sleep patterns and hormone levels and lead to weight gain, which are known to increase the risk for diabetes, the authors wrote.

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BOTTOM LINE: Men and women who work shifts, especially if their shifts rotate, are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

CAUTIONS: The study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between shift work and type 2 diabetes.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, online July 24

Twin study links early reading skills to intelligence


Strong early reading skills in children may be a predictor of higher intelligence later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers in the United Kingdom tracked nearly 2,000 identical twins who were raised in the same household as their sibling. They looked at reading and IQ scores for the twins at age 7, 9, 10, 12, and 16, and used statistical models to see whether differences in reading ability between twins were linked to later differences in intelligence, such as critical thinking and verbal reasoning.

The twin in each pair with better reading skills, even as early as age 7, had higher intelligence scores in later years than his or her counterpart. The twin with higher reading skills at age 7 was more likely to have a higher intelligence score than their twin at age 9. Those with better reading scores early on were also more likely to continue having strong reading skills as they grew.

The findings suggest that improving children’s reading skills at an early age may improve their thinking abilities as well, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Strong early reading skills in children may be a predictor of higher intelligence later in life.

CAUTIONS: The study did not look at whether other environmental factors besides reading ability may have contributed to a higher intelligence score.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Child Development, July 24


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