Working the night shift raises the risk in women of contracting type-II diabetes
as well as overweight and smoking, according to two prospective studies recently
published in the Israel Journal of Obstetrics/Gynecology.
The two US
studies, conducted over long periods among nurses, were analyzed in the journal
by Prof. Ido Sholat of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s
Rappaport Medical Faculty and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
work for years on the night shift are more likely to be overweight, develop
metabolic syndrome and smoke. Previous studies on the subject had been small and
conducted on men, mostly in Japan. The journal article concluded that women who
work late should be screened for such risks.
To blame is a disruption of
the circadian rhythm, a roughly 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of
living beings, the researchers suggest.
Disruptions of the circadian
rhythm involve a complex process in the sleep cycle, energy balance, body heat,
cell cycles and the production of hormones. All of these also affect lifestyle,
which is a major factor in type-II diabetes.
According to the US Centers
for Disease Control, 15 million Americans work shifts. One would expect that
relatively fewer Israeli women work shifts in Israel, but hospital nurses
constitute a large group in which professionals work at irregular
Previous studies have shown that women who work night shifts are
at higher risk for breast cancer.
FAMOUS FACES COULD SPOT EARLY DEMENTIA
A new study suggests that simple tests that measure the ability to recognize and
name famous people such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey may help
doctors identify early dementia in those 40 to 65 years of age. The research
appeared in a recent issue of the journal Neurology.
“These tests also
differentiate between recognizing a face and actually naming it, which can help
identify the specific type of cognitive impairment a person has,” said study
author Tamar Gefen of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in
For the study, 30 Americans with an average age of 62 who had
primary progressive aphasia, a type of early onset dementia that mainly affects
language, and 27 people without dementia were given a test.
includes 20 famous faces printed in black and white, including John F. Kennedy,
Lucille Ball, Princess Diana, Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley.
Participants were given points for each face they could name.
subject could not name the face, he or she was asked to identify the famous
person through description.
Participants gained more points by providing
at least two relevant details about the person. The two groups also underwent
MRI brain scans.
Researchers found that the people who had early-onset
dementia performed significantly worse on the test, scoring an average of 79
percent in recognition of famous faces and 46% in naming the faces, compared to
97% in recognition and 93% on naming for those free of dementia. The study also
found that people who had trouble putting names to the faces were more likely to
have a loss of brain tissue in the left temporal lobe of the brain, while those
with trouble recognizing the faces had tissue loss on both sides of the temporal
“In addition to its practical value in helping us identify people
with early dementia, this test also may help us understand how the brain works
to remember and retrieve its knowledge of words and objects,” Gefen
SPITZ GETS AWARD
Dr. Irving Spitz, emeritus professor of
endocrinology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and adjunct professor of
medicine at Weill Medical College at New York’s Cornell University, has just
received a prestigious citation. The South African-born physician received in
San Francisco the 2013 Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award from The
Endocrine Society. The citation was published in the August 2013 issues of
the Journals of the Endocrine Society.
With prior Ingbar awardee Wayne
Bardin, Spitz revolutionized women’s reproductive health by demonstrating to the
satisfaction of the US Food and Drug Administration the efficacy and safety of
the progesterone receptor antagonist RU486 (abortion pill), followed by a
prostaglandin. This technique is now widely used for the safe termination of
pregnancy in many countries around the world, including Israel.
an avid music aficionado, traveler and photographer and often contributes
articles to The Jerusalem Post on travel, art, history, photography, archeology,
medicine and other subjects.