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Study links insomnia genes to heart disease, stroke risk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with stroke coming in at number five. Scientists used data from more than 1.6 million people to link insomnia genes to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke but not atrial fibrillation. Susanna Larsson, an associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in Sweden, and Dr. Hugh Markus, a professor of stroke medicine at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, published their analysis this week in the journal Circulation. This analysis allowed her to measure the odds of cardiovascular disease risk associated with an individual's genetic propensity toward insomnia. Larsson used publicly available data from large association studies of people with various forms of heart disease. In those individuals with the insomnia genetic variants, the odds of developing coronary artery disease were 12% higher than in those without the SNPs. For heart failure, the odds were 16% higher, and for all types of stroke combined, they were 7% higher. Another weakness is that the SNPs that the researchers used in this analysis only account for 2.6% of the genetic variance that occurs in insomnia, meaning that they only contribute a small amount to the likelihood of a person developing insomnia. It's important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it.", says Susanna Larsson. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Listening and reading evoke almost identical brain activity

Using detailed brain scans, scientists at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, have created interactive 3D semantic maps that can accurately predict which parts of the brain will respond to particular categories of words. When they compared the semantic brain maps for listening and reading, the researchers found that they were almost identical. Whether the words of a story come from listening or reading, it appears that the brain activates the same areas to represent their semantics, or meaning, according to new research. The semantic maps could also aid the study of healthy people and those with conditions that affect brain function, such as stroke, epilepsy, and injuries that can impair speech. It would be very helpful to be able to compare the listening and reading semantic maps for people with auditory processing disorder.", says Fatma Deniz. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)