A multi-ethnic study in the June 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reports that there is a statistically significant relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) episodes occurring during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and type 2 diabetes. Results indicate that the adjusted odds ratio for type 2 diabetes was 2.0 times higher in patients with REM-related OSA, defined as havng an REM apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 10 or more breathing pauses per hour of REM sleep. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 30.1 percent in participants with OSA and 18.6 percent in those without OSA; however, the overall association between OSA and diabetes became non-significant after controlling for covariates such as body mass index (BMI), age, race and gender.
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness affects tens of thousands of people every year in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a fatal disease with few treatment options. According to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet, Nifurtimox in combination with eflornithine is safe, effective, and more affordable than current treatments for sleeping sickness. This new drug combination should be implemented as a matter of priority by control programmes across sub-Saharan Africa. Melarsoprol has been the most frequently used treatment for the last sixty years. But it is an extremely toxic drug which causes severe adverse reactions. A recent alternative is eflornithine.
Scientists at the University of Alberta have found that there are significant differences in the way our brains function depending on whether we're early risers or night owls. Neuroscientists in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation looked at two groups of people: those who wake up early and feel most productive in the morning, and those who were identified as evening people, those who typically felt livelier at night. Study participants were initially grouped after completing a standardized questionnaire about their habits. Using magnetic resonance imaging-guided brain stimulation, scientists tested muscle torque and the excitability of pathways through the spinal cord and brain.
A new study at the University of Leicester aims to investigate the DNA of sleep. The research in the renowned Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester is being carried out by Ms Mobina Khericha and Dr Eran Tauber. It represents a new approach to study the genetics of sleep. Using fruitflies as models the researchers aim at understanding the genetics of sleep and identifying genes involved in this process. Ms Khericha said: "Recent studies have revealed the presence of sleep-like state in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster that shares striking similarities with mammalian sleep. "For example, sleep in the fruit fly can be modulated by chemicals such as caffeine, and is characterized by a reduced arousal following sleep deprivation.
Insomnia is associated with increased frontal cerebral metabolism during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Cerebral hypothermia, or cooling of the brain, has been found to reduce cerebral metabolism in other medical conditions, but its effects in insomnia are unknown. In a University of Pittsburgh study by Eric Nofzinger, M.D., professor of psychiatry, patients with insomnia who received a mild hypothermic stimulus to their scalps an hour before bedtime and during the first REM cycle of sleep showed reduced brain metabolism in the frontal cortex and reduced core body temperature. Three-quarters of the patients also reported other benefits such as less distracting thoughts before bedtime and an overall better and more refreshing sleep.
Light strongly influences human physiology and notably sleep regulation. An international team of scientists, including Patrice Bourgin from CNRS 'Institut des neurosciences cellulaires et intÃ gratives' in Strasbourg, has just published a detailed study in PlosBiology on the role of melanopsin, a molecule involved in mediating the effects of light on sleep. These scientists also revealed evidence of new interactions between the different mechanisms acting on the duration and quality of sleep and alertness. The light reaching our eyes sends two types of information to our brains. Firstly, visual information is mainly relayed by the retina cells known as rods and cones.