Navigation Links
Searching for shut eye: Penn study identifies possible sleep gene
Date:7/29/2008

PHILADELPHIA While scientists and physicians know what happens if you don't get six to eight hours of shut-eye a night, investigators have long been puzzled about what controls the actual need for sleep. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine might have an answer, at least in fruit flies. In a recent study of fruit flies, they identified a gene that controls sleep.

"We spend -- or should spend -- a third of our lives sleeping," says Amita Sehgal, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). "The idea that so much time is spent in sleep is intriguing. Also, sleep deprivation has serious health consequences and impairs cognitive function."

This study was published in the latest Science.

Fruit flies typically sleep 12 hours a day. Sehgal and her team studied 3,500 fruit flies and found mutants that survived on little to no sleep one to two hours a day or none at all. The sleepless flies had a mutation of a gene that Sehgal and her team have named Sleepless. They believe the Sleepless gene encodes a protein that affects whether potassium ion channels in the brain stay open or closed. When the channels are open, the brain is connected and working the fly is awake. When closed, the channel shuts down and the fly sleeps. The insomniac fruit flies had less of the Sleepless-produced protein.

The lack of sleep didn't come without consequences. The Sleepless fruit flies lived about half as long as fruit flies that did not carry the mutation. They also experience impaired coordination and restlessness in their few hours of sleep.

Sleep is regulated by two processes: circadian and homeostatic. Circadian regulation affects the timing of sleep, and the homeostatic mechanism affects the need for sleep. The Sleepless gene affects the homeostatic mechanism.

Sleep isn't just for humans it's been observed in everything from flies to dogs to people, indicating that it's essential to life. Insufficient and poor-quality sleep is an increasing problem in industrialized nations. In the U.S. alone, about 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep problems, which reduce workplace productivity, affect quality of life and can even be lethal.

"In the long term, we hope that human equivalents of our gene will be isolated and will not only further our understanding of human sleep, but perhaps also serve as drug targets to promote sleep or treat insomnia," says Sehgal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Regence Enables Members to Share Feedback With Each Other When Researching Health Care Provider Options
2. Charlie Rose Science Series to Focus on the Challenge of Researching and Implementing Effective Treatments for Diseases of the Developing World
3. Bariatric patients have 65% lower chance of complications at top hospitals: HealthGrades study
4. New study finds healthy children of Alzheimer patients show early brain changes
5. New study finds smoking predicts increased stroke risk for your spouse
6. Study provides clues to preventing and treating cancer spread
7. New AHRQ Study Finds Surgical Errors Cost Nearly $1.5 Billion Annually
8. Erectile dysfunction drugs allowed more chemotherapy to reach brain tumors in laboratory study
9. Study Disproves Belief That Hepatitis C Blunts HIV Drugs
10. Study shows emergency physicians have good first instincts in diagnosing heart attacks
11. Study suggests human visual system could make powerful computer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... planning agency serving communities in the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is ... boy fighting to overcome a rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) ... and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton ... until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law ... organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our ... a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, ... in business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in ... around the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... of DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the ... Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... -- The Rebound mobile app is poised to become a ... of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users to develop ... down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner while maximizing ... first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy 3 months ... ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and ... use of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring ... Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health ... an affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... Israel and NEW YORK , Sept. 27, ... with mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario ... Please check your local TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show ... ... season this month. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: