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Is shift work a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis? The Finnish Public Sector study
  1. Sampsa Puttonen1,
  2. Tuula Oksanen1,
  3. Jussi Vahtera1,2,
  4. Jaana Pentti1,
  5. Marianna Virtanen1,
  6. Paula Salo1,
  7. Mika Kivimäki1,3
  1. 1The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sampsa Puttonen, Topeliuksenkatu 41aA, FIN 00250 Helsinki, Finland; sampsa.puttonen{at}

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease with both environmental and genetic determinants.1 Shift work, defined here as working outside regular day shifts, has been found to induce changes in the biomarkers of systemic inflammation such as leucocyte count2 3 and T cell responses.4 5 We examined whether shift work also predicts development of RA.

Participants were drawn from the Finnish Public Sector Study,6 a prospective cohort study of 70 376 local government employees who responded to a survey in 1997–2004. We excluded those who had a history of RA at baseline (n=939) or had missing data on age, sex, or self-reported work schedule (n=2035), leaving …

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  • Funding This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (projects 117604, 124327, 124332 and 129262) and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

  • Provenance Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.