GHP / July 2017 21 NEWS , The study of 1,123 workers by Willis Tow- ers Watson (WTW) also found that more than a third (36%) of workers are struggling to get a good night’s sleep because of their job. Of the respondents who struggled to nod off, more than half cited difficulty in winding down after a stressful day at the office as the main reason for sleeplessness (55%), followed by job worries (45%), early starts (41%) and late- night working (35%). The research closely follows the launch of the world’s largest sleep study, which made headlines last month after a recruitment drive for 100,000 volunteers. Scientists in Western University, Ontario, hope the study will help them to gain a better understanding of the effects of sleep deprivation on brain func- tion. Speaking about the new research, Mike Blake, a director at Willis Tow- ers Watson Health & Benefits, said: “The work environment is no longer confined to the office, with the stress of heavy workloads creeping into home life. “Whilst companies may benefit from a perceived ‘increase’ in pro- ductivity in the short-term, ongoing stress, coupled with lack of sleep, can risk having an overall neg- ative impact on operational per- formance. And the launch of the worldwide sleep study is a clear indicator that fatigue will become a more prevalent and serious work- place issue that employers can ill afford to ignore.” Despite 65% of workers saying tiredness has become a bigger workplace problem over the past five years, WTW’s research re- vealed that just 17% of employers proactively educate their employ- ees on the effect of sleep on gen- eral wellbeing. Blake said employee-focused health and wellbeing programmes can help companies address the growing issue of fatigue at work. “Employers who become more at- tuned to the needs of their workers outside the office are more likely to retain a happy and healthy employ- ee base,” he added. “Companies should aim to identify and tackle potential issues before they become a problem. Open dialogue is key to establishing a positive workplace culture that ad- dresses and mitigates stress and fatigue. This will allow managers to identify dips in productivity and tackle the root causes before more serious issues arise, such as absenteeism and presenteeism. “By placing an emphasis on the importance of sufficient sleep, workers will also feel more com- fortable approaching managers about fatigue and solutions can be found, such as meditative practic- es, review of workloads or flexible working hours. The Willis Towers Watson Employ- ee Benefits and Wellbeing Barom- eter explores attitudes to employee benefits among UK workers. The research was conducted among 1,123 adults, aged 18-64, who are currently in full or part-time employment in Great Britain. The interviewed sample was weighted to represent the adult population of Great Britain. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com Tiredness Hits Productivity for UK Businesses Almost two-thirds (66%) of UKworkers claim tiredness negatively impacts on productivity at work, research has revealed. Participants in the study reported that they experienced impaired judgements as frequently as every day and difficulty hearing as often as twice a week. (1) Severe ‘brain fog’, forgetfulness and recent memory loss were also reported. (1) “FCS impacts most areas of the life of someone who has it and those close to them. It affects everything from what they can eat to their relationships with their friends and family, their employment and their sense of self-worth,” says Jill Prawer, chair of the LPLD alliance. “FCS is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, and we are delighted that the impact of the disorder beyond immediate acute symptoms is starting to be investigated.” FCS sufferers find themselves frequently having to access both primary and secondary healthcare services. (1) 86% of patients in the study visited their GP for routine appointments on average 10 times in twelve months and 64% visited their GP for urgent care an average of three times. (1) 71% visited a hospital doctor an average of three times in twelve months, 50% were hospitalised twice on average, for an average of four nights. (1) The study also reveals that 57.1% of FCS patients feel that the disease significantly interferes with their work and employment, and many feel constant uncertainty about having an attack of pain or acute pancreatitis multiple times per day. (1) 43% of patients had to take an average of 11 days off work in the last twelve months due to their FCS. (1) Outside of work, 58% said that it had influenced their decision on whether to have children. (1) IN-FOCUS was a self-reported, online, anonymous quantitative research study conducted in those diagnosed with FCS.1 These results reflect an interim analysis of responses from European patients. Data were presented at the HEART UK 31st Annual Medical & Scientific Congress between 5-7 July 2017. (1) Familial Chylomicronaemia Syndrome (FCS) is a rare genetic lipid disorder characterised by the build up of chylomicrons (chylomicronaemia), large lipoprotein particles that carry triglycerides in the blood shortly after the ingestion of fat. People with FCS cannot break down chylomicrons, causing them to have very high levels of triglycerides and blood than can appear milky in colour (lipemic). People with FCS live at risk of severe recurrent abdominal pain and potentially acute pancreatitis, long-term complications from pancreatic damage, and symptoms that can interfere with daily life. People with FCS are normally required to sustain a low-fat diet of less than 20g per day. FCS is caused by a dysfunction of Lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that works to help break down chylomicrons in the body. The genetic mutations for FCS are inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. It is estimated to affect 1-2 in every 1 million people in the EU. References (1) Davidson M Et al. Interim Results of the Investigation of Findings and Observations Captured in Burden of Illness Survey in Patients with FCS (IN-FOCUS) Study: European Respondents. Presented at the HEART UK 31st Annual Medical & Scientific Conference, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. 5-7 July 2017. (2) European Medicines Agency. Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products EMA/ COMP/14515/2014. Available at: www.ema.europa.eu/docs/ en_GB/document_library/ Minutes/2014/03/WC500162743. pdf Accessed July 2017 (3) Brunzell JD. Familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency. GeneReviews 2011. (4) NORD. Familial Partial Lipodystrophy. Available at: rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/ familial-partiallipodystrophy - accessed July 2017.