Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Circadian Rhythms Related to Metabolism

We've been discussing the relationship between obesity and sleep apnea, and the relationship between diabetes and sleep apnea, and it appears that researchers at the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has discovered another piece of the puzzle about their relationship. Unfortunately, it is one that muddies the waters a little bit, suggesting that ties between metabolism and sleep may be beyond our understanding at this moment.

The researchers studied a pair of molecules, known to modulate the body's response to metabolic hormones. They created a mutation in mice which prevented the two hormones, NCoR and HDAC3, from working together. This partnership is known to affect animals' metabolism responses to food, but when they disrupted this partnership, they found a surprising side effect: suddenly the mice were on a different sleep schedule. Suddenly, they had a different circadian rhythm than unaltered mice. They were sleeping less, but their bodies responded more readily to insulin. This means they did not gain as much weight when put on a high-fat diet, and seemed healthy.

Researchers are hopeful that this discovery might someday lead to new therapies in the battle against obesity and diabetes. They warn, however, that the discovery shows sleeping less and greater insulin response may be triggered by the same mutation, not that people who sleep less, or who have disrupted sleep patterns as a result of sleep apnea or snoring, will lose weight. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.

If losing weight has been a problem for you, especially if you can't seem to control your diet or appetite, perhaps sleep apnea is a contributing factor. Schedule a sleep apnea treatment consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois, today.

posted by Dr. Candelaria at 6:42 AM