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There may be a link between sleep deprivation and several mental health disorders, according to a new study.
These mental health disorders include anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome and autism, the researchers said, according to a press release from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) earlier this month.
The UCI scientists hypothesized that circadian rhythm disturbance, or CRD, is a “psychopathological factor” shared by multiple psychiatric disorders, the statement said.
The scientists also say that research into the “molecular basis” of CRD may hold the key to unlocking better treatments for these mental disorders.
Research on the relationship between sleep and mental disorders was recently published in the journal Translational Psychology.
“Circadian rhythms play an important role in all biological systems at all scales, from molecules to populations,” said lead author Pierre Baldi, UCI professor of computer science and director of the UCI Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics, in a UCI press release. .
“Our analysis shows that circadian rhythm disturbance is a factor that covers a broad spectrum of mental health disorders,” he continued.
According to a press release, UCI researchers have uncovered significant evidence linking sleep disorders to the most prevalent mental health disorders by carefully reviewing peer-reviewed literature on the most prevalent mental health disorders.
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“Signs of circadian disruption — sleep problems — are present in every disease,” lead author Amal Allahkar, a neuroscientist and professor in UCI’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, said in a press release.
“While we focused on well-known disorders, including autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder,” she continued, “we believe that the CRD psychopathological factor hypothesis can be generalized to other mental health problems, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, neurological Anorexia, bulimia. Neuroticism, food addiction and Parkinson’s disease. »
“Our analysis shows that circadian rhythm disturbance is a factor that covers a broad spectrum of mental health disorders.”
According to Healthline.com, a circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake pattern an individual experiences over a 24-hour period.
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They add that it helps control the daily schedule of sleeping and waking up, which most creatures have one.
“Maintaining healthy habits can help you cope better with this natural rhythm of your body,” the publication notes.
A mother and grandmother from Greater Washington, D.C., says good sleep habits, started early, can also improve overall health and mental outlook.
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“There are parents today who let their kids choose their bedtime, and I never thought it was a good idea,” she told Fox News Digital. “A positive measure is to develop healthy sleep habits at an early age. »
UCI researchers also shared more information about circadian rhythms.
“Circadian rhythms are inherently sensitive to light/dark cues,” they said in a press release on the new study, “so they are easily disrupted by exposure to light at night, and the extent of disruption appears to depend on gender. And with time changes with age.. »
They add: “An example is the hormonal response of pregnant women to CRD; both the mother and the fetus may experience the clinical effects of CRD and chronic stress. »
Scientists also believe that age is also an important factor; CRD may influence the development of age-related mental disorders in older adults.
“An intriguing question we explored was the interaction of circadian rhythms and psychiatric disorders with sexuality,” Baldi said. “For example, Tourette’s syndrome is predominantly found in men, and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women, at about two-thirds to one-third. »
Scientists also believe that age is also an important factor; the UCI team noted that CRD may influence the onset of age-related mental disorders in older adults.
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In the statement, Alachar also pointed to the challenges of testing the team’s hypothesis at the “cellular level.”
According to the press release, the UCI-led team recommends examining CRD using “transcriptomic (gene expression) and metabolomic techniques in mouse models.”
“This will be a high-throughput process, with researchers taking samples from healthy and diseased subjects every few hours,” Baldi said in the release.
He continued: “This method can be applied to humans in limited circumstances, as only serum samples can actually be used, but it can be applied on a large scale in animal models, especially mice, by taking tissues from different regions of the brain. .Different organs, except serum.»
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Experiments to study “circadian molecular rhythms before and during disease progression” could help the mental health research community identify potential biomarkers, causal Relationships and new treatments. Goals and clues,” he noted.