Association between shift work history and performance on the trail making test in middle-aged and elderly humans: The EpiHealth study

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Abstract

Shift work has been proposed to promote cognitive disturbances in humans; however, conflicting evidence is also present. By using data from 7143 middle-aged and elderly humans (45-75 years) who participated in the Swedish EpiHealth cohort study, the present analysis sought to investigate whether self-reported shift work history would be associated with performance on the trail making test (TMT). The TMT has been proposed to be a useful neuropsychological tool to evaluate humans' executive cognitive function, which is known to decrease with age. After adjustment for potential confounders (e.g., age, education, and sleep duration), it was observed that current and recent former shift workers (worked shifts during the past 5 years) performed worse on the TMT than nonshift workers. In contrast, performance on the TMT did not differ between past shift workers (off from shift work for more than 5 years) and nonshift workers. Collectively, our results indicate that shift work history is linked to poorer performance on the TMT in a cohort of middle-aged and elderly humans.

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Titova, O. E., Lindberg, E., Elmståhl, S., Lind, L., Schiöth, H. B., & Benedict, C. (2016). Association between shift work history and performance on the trail making test in middle-aged and elderly humans: The EpiHealth study. Neurobiology of Aging, 45, 23–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.05.007

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