Recently in Science Translational Medicine, a science newspaper published a study that announced the ‘Short Sleep Gene’ prevents memory deficits. The gene that is also associated with Sleep Deprivation.
University of California, San Francisco discovered the third short sleep gene within weeks of finding the second one. Something that was being under research for more than a decade. The findings of UCSF was a breakthrough in the field of medical science because no one believed in the existence of a short sleep gene that could be a cause of sleep deprivation.
People including other scientists have always connected sleep deprivation with other ailments but the study brought out another perspective that brought the concept of natural short sleep. A genetic disorder caused due to mutated genes. People with natural short sleep for 4-6 hours and still feel fresh compared to other people who need at least 8hours of sleep to fulfill the sleep cycle.
Though sleep deprivation has been associated with many health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, heart ailments, and many others, people with natural short sleep do not face any such issue due to less sleep.
The study was conducted on father-son pairs with short sleep. The result shows that the mutation was on the same gene named NPSR1. The mutation in the gene that causes a particular protein to sit on the surface of neurons. This protein has been noted to be involved in regulating sleep.
While the experimentation was being done on mice, they were given mild shocks in a foreign cage. Half of the mice with mutated genes and another half normal. When the mice were taken to the same cage again the next day, behavioral changes were noted in the mice with mutated genes compared to the normal ones indicating that they remembered.
This experiment triggered that the belief that the latest findings may lead to the development of treatments to prevent sleep deprivation and or memory deficits.