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There may be a link between poor sleep and different mental health disorders, according to a new study.
These mental health disorders include anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome, and autism, the researchers say, according to a press release from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) published earlier this month.
UCI scientists speculate that disruption of the circadian rhythm, or CRD, is a “psychopathological factor” shared by a wide range of mental illnesses, according to the release.
Research into the “molecular foundation” of CRD could be pivotal in unlocking better treatments for these mental disorders, the scientists also say.
Research on the relationship between sleep and mental disorders was recently published in the journal Translational Psychology.
“Circadian rhythms play a fundamental role in all biological systems at all scales, from molecules to populations,” senior author Pierre Baldi, UCI computer science professor and director of the Institute, said in the UCI press release. of genomics and bioinformatics of the UCI.
“Our analysis found that disruption of the circadian rhythm is a factor that largely overlaps the entire spectrum of mental health disorders,” he continued.
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UCI researchers found significant evidence of the connection between sleep disruption and these disorders by carefully examining the peer-reviewed literature on the most prevalent mental health disorders, according to the press release.
“The telltale sign of disruption of the circadian rhythm – a problem with sleep – was present in every disorder,” said lead author Amal Alachkar, a neuroscientist and professor in the UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in the release.
“Although our focus was on widely known conditions including autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder,” he continued, “we argue that the psychopathological factor CRD hypothesis can be generalized to other mental health problems, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, food addiction and Parkinson’s disease “.
“Our analysis found that disruption of the circadian rhythm is a factor that largely overlaps the entire spectrum of mental health disorders.”
A circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake pattern in individual experiences over the course of a 24-hour day, according to Healthline.com.
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It helps to control the daily schedule for sleep and wakefulness, and most living things have one, the publication also notes.
“Maintaining healthy habits can help you respond better to this natural rhythm of your body,” he added.
A mother and grandmother from the greater Washington, DC area said that good sleep habits, started early, can also help with overall health and mental outlook.
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“Some parents today let their kids choose bedtime and I never thought it was a good idea,” he told Fox News Digital. “A proactive measure would be to initiate healthy sleep patterns when children are small.”
UCI researchers also shared more information on circadian rhythms.
“Circadian rhythms are inherently sensitive to light / dark signals,” says their press release on the new research, “so they can be easily interrupted by exposure to light at night, and the level of disruption appears to be sex-dependent and changes with l ‘age .”
The researchers added: “An example is a hormonal response to CRD felt by pregnant women; both mother and fetus can experience clinical effects from CRD and chronic stress.”
Scientists also believe that age is also an important factor; CRD can affect the onset of age-related mental disorders among the elderly.
“An interesting question that we have explored is the interaction of circadian rhythms and mental disorders with sex,” said Baldi.
“For example, Tourette’s syndrome occurs mainly in males and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in females at a ratio of about two-thirds to one-third.”
Scientists also believe that age is an important factor.
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CRD can affect the onset of age-related mental disorders among the elderly, notes the UCI team.
Alachar also noted the challenges in testing the team’s hypothesis “at the cellular level” in the release.
The UCI-led team suggests an examination of CRD using “transcriptomic (gene expression) and metabolomic technologies in mouse models,” according to the release.
“This will be a high-throughput process with researchers acquiring samples from healthy and sick subjects every few hours along the circadian cycle,” Baldi said in the news release.
He continued: “This approach can be applied with limitations in humans, since only serum samples can actually be used, but it could be applied on a large scale in animal models, particularly mice, by taking tissues from different brain areas and different. organs, in addition to serum “.
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If experiments were conducted “systematically with respect to age, gender and brain areas” to investigate circadian molecular rhythmicity “before and during disease progression, it would help the mental health research community identify potential biomarkers, reports causal and new therapeutic targets and avenues, “he noted.