Working the night shift can cause cancer in women?

If working nights wasn’t stressful enough for everyone, now there’s research that shows working at nights may lead to higher instances of breast cancer in women.

I work with a few ladies at night (our usual schedule) so this news, while it’s been the talk almost every time we meet, is most certainly not welcome. The research pertains to the Danish military in which 18,500 women who served between 1964 – 1999 and 141 had developed breast cancer by 2005 – 2006.

Most surprising, though, was the fact that women who worked night shifts and described themselves as being “morning” people — that is, they preferred to wake up early, rather than stay up late at night — had a four times higher risk of breast cancer than women who worked during the day. “The four times higher increased risk surprised us. It was very unusual,” says Hansen.

This is also the case with almost everyone I work with, not just women. I’m one of the few there that are actual night owls and the rest are the “normal” folks who work because that’s just part of the job and otherwise would rather be enjoying daylight.

There were grumbles of this previously when they looked at nurses who worked the night shift and considered other parameters besides just lack of direct Sun.

The nurse studies had pointed toward a possible explanation for the association: because night workers labor under artificial light, they may be exposed to less natural sunlight and, therefore, less vitamin D from the sun’s rays than day workers; lower levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Based on the questionnaires, however, Hansen found that the Danish night workers actually spent more time outdoors and had higher rates of sun exposure than day workers, since they were free during the day when others were indoors at work.

I know that at least three are mothers who spend time with their children during the day, outdoors a lot of times. This is most distressing and if it can be corroborated outside the Danish military, we’ll have to rethink the true cost of working at night. However the two other women in the “night owl” category may be spared this danger.

Genes may also play a role, since whether a person is a “night owl or a “lark” is partially determined by his or her genetic makeup. Hansen’s finding that shift work can be particularly risky for “larks,” people who are more alert and active in the morning than at night, makes sense, since genetics may make it harder for a morning person to adjust to hormonal and metabolic changes that come with working at night. “It’s much worse to be a morning person and have night shift work when it comes to breast cancer,” says Hansen.

I hope the vitamins I see a lot of the “larks” taking are compensating for this at least somewhat.

Update

This post previously had “18,500 women who served between 1964 – 1999 and had developed breast cancer”, which is incorrect (very, very incorrect).
Changed to “18,500 women who served between 1964 – 1999 and 141 had developed breast cancer”.

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J R R Tolkien was a physicist?

I was listening to a description of the “multiverse”, the substrate of reality according current theoretical understanding, and it struck me how similar it is to Tolkien’s description of the universe in terms of the Music of the Ainur.

I’ll let this description by Michio Kaku explain… then go read The Silmarillion by Tolkien and you’ll see some striking similarities.

This is either an amazing coincidence or we need to start collecting Dragon Balls Seeing Stones.

Open Paranormal Association for Research (update)

It’s been two years since I announced that I’ll be forming an organization dedicated to paranormal research on this blog, but until now it hadn’t had much momentum.

The fault is entirely mine as I’ve been far too occupied with other affairs to give much thought to it beyond the initial idea. Well, a few contacts past week provided me with the opportunity to advance this further. Namely, I’ll have a chance to create an archive system to document any research in order to present them in a meaningful way and, being a programmer, this will be naturally based on a searchable database.

So far, I have started work on a case management system that will store all documents and research information using an EAV paradigm since I have no way of knowing what type of materials I’ll come across, but still implement thorough record-keeping.

And finally, like all aspiring organizations, a logo will be needed. I chose an encircled, 12-petal, chrysanthemum for cultural and historical reasons. 12 Is an important number in several cultures of the Middle East and subsequently, the West through the spread of religion, and the chrysanthemum is a similarly important symbol of the East. Both, I think, represent what I’m trying to achieve with this.

Open Paranormal Association for Research

Following the choice of color, there will be no doom and gloom associated with this and, by extension, the website for the project. I’m not sure why many other paranormal research organizations insist on darkness as a theme, but just because you may conduct your research at night, doesn’t mean it should be a color choice as well. This organization will stand for knowledge and openness, hence lightness not darkness.

There’s no date yet on when I can start on actual research since I first need the infrastructure in place. The last thing I need is disorganization even before any work starts.

Open Paranormal Association for Research (OPAR)

I’m officially announcing the start of a new paranormal research organization… Yes, I’m totally serious.

The Open Paranormal Association for Research or OPAR.
I had another name in mind:
Open Paranormal Research Association for Hunters or OPRAH, but that may cause some issues…

So why this one when there are already countless other paranormal this and that organizations out there?
I don’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural. I’ve lived, literally, next door to a cemetery for many years and never once encountered anything paranormal. So I want to approach this from a perspective of someone who’s never experienced any of this. Perhaps that would give me some perspective on what’s really going on.

Are these things real or just figments of a collective imagination? Can so many people be hallucinating or making up stories or are there actual phenomenon that could be construed as paranormal?

I want to see what all the hubbub is about.

And what’s with the name?

Open

All research and investigations conducted within the organization will be available for public review. This includes logs, video and audio (when available) and other records collected during the course of the affair. Furthermore, every effort will be made to ensure the majority, if not all, the content of the research will be available outright in the public domain or at least free (under “fair use” in copyright law if external material is involved) whenever possible.

Paranormal

Or as the good folks at TAPS would elaborate “above-normal”. Floating balls of dust, your strap or finger caught on camera, and fog, do not constitute a “paranormal” event. Neither do “feelings of discomfort or paranoia” which could easily be caused by food poisoning or inhaling chemicals or dust from a particular structure, as much a ghost.

Association

So this won’t be a party of one, obviously. I’ll need some volunteers at some point. Also it’s good to have more than one perspective on anything as you’re likely to observe the non-existent or miss the existent if you only have one set of eyes and ears. And good ideas are always more likely to come by in groups.

Research

We’re actually going to be finding stuff and documenting everything. Even if we find nothing, documentation will still exist. More importantly, if what’s found is nothing, what’s shown will be nothing along with the data showing nothing. Everything will fall within objective and unbiased scrutiny.

The subjects of research will be ghosts, mainly, and hauntings as well as poltergeist activity. No UFOs, extraterrestrials kryptids or other such things. I want to stick to things that are actually feasible for testing purposes. Challenging the government to declassify documents and going into the woods looking for Bigfoot is a no-go.

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And so… Onward and upward!