Healthy sleepers who carry a specific gene variant are more likely to have disrupted sleep, according to University of Pennsylvania study published in the October 26, 2010 issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

After a series of nights with restricted sleep, 37 healthy adults who carry a specific gene variant found it harder to cope than 92 healthy non carriers, in terms of increased sleepiness and fatigue and more fragmented sleep. Since the gene is closely related to narcolepsy, in which some of these symptoms are observed (e.g., increased sleepiness and more fragmented sleep), it may be the gene that is causing these responses.

“If the study is replicated, this research may justify recommendations for behavioral interventions, like naps, or pharmacological countermeasures, such as a dose of caffeine, to gene variant carriers when their sleep is restricted,” said the study’s lead author, Namni Goel, PhD, assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine.

For more information, please see the American Academy of Neurology’s press release.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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