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The mystery of sleep is hidden in the hair

27 Aug

mysteryThe study, published in the journal Communications of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), showed that hair follicles contain a report on the activity of genes that govern us when we wake up and when we sleep.Tracking the progress of your internal clock can be as easy as pulling the hair from his beard or eyebrows, say scientists
The results can be used for diagnosis and study of
disorders and conditions such as desynchronizes (violation of the circadian rhythm of the body).
Whether you’re a night owl or morning lark – your sleep-wake cycle is largely controlled by genes, in other words, the clock mechanism genes. Throughout the day, these genes change their activity, exposing the internal clock, enabling our circadian rhythms.

The first time a human gene was discovered almost 10 years ago, but surely the effective allocation of these genes to study the sleep-wake cycle in real time was not easy. When genes are active, they transcribe their DNA into RNA – the first step in the production of various proteins, which essentially carries out the instructions of the gene, and, in this case, affect the circadian rhythms. RNA can be found in the cells of the body – from the white blood cells (leukocytes) to the mouth – but the methods to extract it from these cells proved to be unreliable.
Then Makoto Akashi (Akashi), Research Fellow, University of Yamaguchi, Japan, and his colleagues turned to a human hair. At the base of each hair follicle is with living cells, which seemed to “cling” to the hair when you are tearing them or pull out. Naschipyvaya an average of 10 “breviary” hair of one person (for five people with thick and somewhere to 20 with thin hair), the researchers were able to isolate and track the activity of three separate time genes. The hair from his beard was even more reliable: three beams led to accurate results.
To pull the hair of 4 people involved about their daily chores, the researchers found that the peak of gene expression (when there is maximum transcribed RNA) corresponded to the peak of wakefulness. When people change their itineraries at 4:00 for more than three weeks, the peak gene activity has shifted by only 2.1 hours, which spoke of the reaction, reminiscent of the syndrome of jet lag. In other words, even though people forced themselves to the new schedule of sleep and wakefulness, their biological clock to adjust to the new regime to work.
The researchers then followed up for 6 workers with a rotation of labor, modes which alternated from 6 am until 3 days a week and 3 days until midnight next week. They found that despite the fact that the cycles of sleep-waking workers shifted to 7 hours, their gene expression was shifted by only 2 hours. This may mean that replacement workers live in constant mode desynchronizes syndrome (jet lag), which may put them at risk of heart attack and stroke, researchers warn.
So, at this point, the method of plucking the hair best suited for research purposes, but as a socio-technical progress, the researchers suggest, it could be used in hospitals and clinics to diagnose and treat patients with circadian (daily) rhythms.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2010 in Mysterious

 

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