Health Discoveries in General Health News

Sound sleep may be related to genetic variant

October 27, 2010
The ability to sleep soundly may be related to an individual's genetic makeup, according to a study published in the October issue of the journal Neurology.

The researchers evaluated people who have a gene variant called DQB1*0602 that is associated with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime drowsiness. However, having the gene variant doesn't mean individuals will have the disorder.

The study found that individuals with the gene variant were sleeper and more fatigued whether fully rested or sleep deprived, and their sleeping pattern was more fragmented than healthy sleepers.

"This gene may be a biomarker for predicting how people will respond to sleep deprivation, which has significant health consequences and affects millions of people around the world," said researcher Namni Goel, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "It may be particularly important to those who work on the night shift, travel frequently across multiple time zones, or just lose sleep due to their multiple work and family obligations."

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, a clinical trial is under way that focuses on ways to treat "obstructive" sleep apnea, a complex sleep disorder in which a blockage occurs in the airway during sleep.
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