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Oversleeping 'can cause Parkinson's'

14th July 2006

New research has suggested that sleeping too much could significantly increase the chances of developing Parkinson's Disease.

According to a study carried out by the National Institutes of Health in the US, sleeping at least nine hours every night puts people at almost twice the risk of being struck down with Parkinson's later in life.

The research tracked 80,000 nurses over the course of 24 years and discovered that those who slept for an average of nine hours per night were 80 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's than the nurses who slept for just six hours per night.

Lead researcher Dr Honglei Chen described the findings as "puzzling", adding: "We do not have good biological explanations for the results. Further research is needed to replicate our results and explore the mechanisms."

Previous studies have suggested that night-shift workers lower levels of the hormones melatonin and oestradiol, which can contribute to the onset of Parkinson's when found at higher levels in the body.