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Approved research

Sleep-related genes, lifestyle factors and neural connectivity: reciprocal interactions and influence on sleep modulation

Principal Investigator: Professor Helgi Schioth
Approved Research ID: 24642
Approval date: December 7th 2016

Lay summary

Our research aims to explore the relationships between resting-state neural networks, sleep-related genes and lifestyle factors affecting sleep. Brain functional connectivity during resting-state has been found to be predicted by sleep duration and quality (Khalsa, 2016; Dai, 2015), and it is altered in sleep disorders (Nie, 2015). Data regarding multiple genes involved in sleep regulation will be tested against neural connectivity, and lifestyle factors that could influence sleep quality will be included in the model, broadening our knowledge on the reciprocal influence that genetics, lifestyle and neural circuitry exert on sleep modulation and sleep disorders. Sleep disorder are common in the population. Sleepiness during the day may increase the risk of accidents at workplace. Moreover, a suboptimal quality of sleep can negatively affect attention, memory consolidation and productivity, reducing performance efficiency and inducing stress and frustration. A better understanding of how neural circuitry, genetics and lifestyle factors reciprocally interact in modulating sleep quality could help identifying better treatment strategies for sleep disorders, and improve health-related policies in the workplace. Statistical models will be utilized to analyze the associations between genotype, lifestyle factors and neural circuitry. Brain functional connectivity analyses will be performed on resting-state functional MRI data. Functional MRI images will be pre-processed and seeds regions will be selected according to previous literature for the seed-based connectivity analyses. To examine causal effect of these genes, Mendelian randomization will be applied. Linear models will be used to study the association between lifestyle factors and connectivity. To maximize power, the full cohort will be included in the project.