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The largest genetic study ever happened in UK

By on February 5, 2018

Over 1.3 million people were assessed for inherited causes of insomnia, by researching the DNA for a gene that might cause the condition

After the examination of exactly 1.310.010 people, scientists from the UK have discovered that 956 different genes that are linked to the sleep-related disorder exist.

The study is the largest ever of its type conducted worldwide and it aims at improving the life of people suffering from sleep disturbances and, why not, maybe even find a cure.

As insomnia affects approximatively 30 per cent of the global population and the condition is partially heritable, it is expected that studies like the one mentioned above become usual research in the medical world.

The innovative project involved genetic data collected from UK Biobank and was led by neuro-scientist Danielle Posthuma, from the Vrije University, Amsterdam.

According to the researchers, the results showed that the genetic causes of insomnia are also linked to depression, anxiety and even a shorter lifespan. Despite the enormous data assessed and the scientists’ hope of finding “novel targets for treatments,” discovering a new drug won’t be easy, due to the minimum effect that genes have on sleep disorders.

As a conclusion of the researchers, the outcome of the gene hunt was “a little bit disappointing”. Nevertheless, several genetic studies involving millions of people are expected to be developed in the near future, with the purpose of finding more and more connections between genes, chronic disease and the treatments of the future.

About Odille Francoise