Study links primary insomnia to a neurochemical abnormality

Jun 09, 2009

A research abstract that will be presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, is the first demonstration of a specific neurochemical abnormality in adults with primary insomnia (PI), providing greater insight to the limited understanding of the condition's pathology.

Results indicate that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most common inhibitory transmitter in the brain, is reduced by nearly 30 percent in individuals who suffer from primary insomnia for more than six months. These findings suggest that primary insomnia is a manifestation of a neurobiological state of hyperarousal, which is present during both waking and at physiological and cognitive levels.

According to principal investigator Dr. John Winkelman of Brigham and Women's Hospital, at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., the recognition that primary insomnia is associated with a specific neurochemical deficiency helps validate the often misunderstood complaint of insomnia.

"Recognition that insomnia has manifestations in the brain may increase the legitimacy of those who have insomnia and report substantial daytime consequences," he said. "Insomnia is not just a phenomenon observed at night, but has daytime consequences for energy, concentration and mood."

The study included 16 non-medicated individuals (eight of whom were women) with PI and 16 individuals (seven women) who were deemed normal sleepers. Global brain GABA levels were measured in both groups. PI was established through clinical interviews, sleep diary, actigraphy use and polysomnograpy.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Meditation may be an effective treatment for insomnia

Jun 09, 2009

Meditation may be an effective behavioral intervention in the treatment of insomnia, according to a research abstract that will be presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies

'Night owls' report more insomnia-related symptoms

Apr 15, 2007

Those persons who are labeled a “night owl” report more pathological symptoms related to insomnia, despite many having the opportunity to compensate for their nocturnal sleeplessness by extending their time in bed and ...

Recommended for you

India to raise age for tobacco purchases, ban single sales

44 minutes ago

Health campaigners Wednesday welcomed India's plans to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 25 and ban unpackaged cigarettes, hailing them as a major step towards stopping nearly one million tobacco-related deaths a year.

Americans are smoking less than ever

48 minutes ago

The percentage of Americans who are smokers has fallen to an all-time low, now representing just 17.8 percent of the population, a study released Tuesday found.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.