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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Tulane: Can Good Sleep Patterns Offset Genetic Susceptibility to Heart Disease and Stroke?

Getting a good night’s sleep could be beneficial for long-term health. A pioneering new study led by Dr. Lu Qi, director of the Obesity Research Center at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, found that even if people had a high genetic risk of heart disease or stroke, healthy sleep patterns could help offset that risk. The study is published in the European Heart Journal.

The researchers looked at genetic variations known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that were already known to be linked to the development of heart disease and stroke. They analysed the SNPs from blood samples taken from more than 385,000 healthy participants in the UK Biobank project and used them to create a genetic risk score to determine whether the participants were at high, intermediate or low risk of cardiovascular problems.

The researchers followed the participants for an average of 8.5 years, during which time there were 7,280 cases of heart disease or stroke.

“We found that compared to those with an unhealthy sleep pattern, participants with good sleeping habits had a 35 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 34 percent reduced risk of both heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Qi says. Researchers say those with the healthiest sleep patterns slept 7 to 8 hours a night, without insomnia, snoring or daytime drowsiness.

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