| July 25 2006

A study from the National Institutes of Health found that those whosleep nine hours or more each night are almost twice as likely todevelop Parkinson's disease as those who sleep six hours or less.

The More Sleep, the Greater the Risk

The health of 80,000 nurses, none of whom had Parkinson's disease atthe beginning of the study, were tracked for 24 years. Analysis of the181 women who developed Parkinson's during the course of the studyshowed that the longer they slept, the greater risk they had ofdeveloping the illness.

Nurses who slept at least nine hours a night were 80 percent more likely to receive a Parkinson's diagnosis, while eight hours elevated the risk by 60 percent and seven hours increased it by only 10 percent.

Night Shifts

Working night shifts, however, reduced the risk. Longer stintsoffered more protection; nurses who worked overnight at least threetimes a month cut their Parkinson's risks in half.Previous studies have demonstrated that those who work night shiftshave lower levels of the hormones melatonin and oestradiol, which maycontribute to the development of Parkinson's at high levels.

Symptomsof Parkinson's include tremors and muscle stiffness, and eventuallyspeech, facial expression and balance can be affected.

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