University of Miami program focuses on sleep

MIAMI – A special program is underway at the UM Miller School of Medicine focused on better understanding the human biological clock and sleep quality.

Dr. Girardin Jean-Louis recently joined UHealth to lead its new translational program in sleep and circadian sciences.

He said problems with the internal biological clock can have serious health consequences.

“When we see someone who has circadian dysregulation there is a much higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high lipidemia and now we also learn that the risk of dementia is much higher simply because that the clock doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do on a regular basis,” Jean-Louis said.

Jean-Louis and his team develop and test interventions aimed at reducing the risk of sleep-related health problems.

When it comes to sleep, researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine have found that disruption of a circadian clock gene may be involved in the development of autism spectrum disorder.

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About 50-80% of children with ASD have sleep problems, compared to less than 30% in the general population.

The causes of sleep problems in ASD are not entirely clear, but a faulty biological clock could be the culprit.

And according to a new study, the rate of pre-diabetes is growing rapidly in children from 11.6% in 1999 to more than 28% in 2018.

Prediabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke.

The study did not explain why pre-diabetes is on the rise, but it is consistent with an increase in childhood obesity.

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Ryan H. Bowman