INTRODUCTION: A few studies suggest that working night and rotating shifts increase the risk of dementia. We examined the association between shift work and the incidence of dementia in a cohort of female Danish nurses.
METHODS: We linked Danish Nurse Cohort participants, who reported work schedules (day, evening, night, rotating shifts) in 1993 and/or 1999 and their duration in 2009, to Danish registers to obtain information on dementia hospitalizations and prescription medication until November 2018.
RESULTS: Among 6048 nurses who reported work schedules in 1993 and 1999, nurses working night shifts ≥6 years had higher dementia incidence (hazard ratio: 2.43, 95% confidence interval: 1.39 to 4.23) than those working day shifts ≥6 years. Among 8059 nurses who reported shift work duration, nurses working night shifts ≥6 years had higher dementia incidence than those working night shifts <1 year (1.47, 1.06 to 2.06).
DISCUSSION: Persistent night shift work may increase the risk of dementia.