Pinpointing how certain cells in the eyes can determine sleep quality, life expectancy in the United States declines…again, and identifying genetic variants which increase ADHD.

Why Screen Time Can Disrupt Sleep

(Neuroscience News, 11/27/2018, Salk Institute)

We have a strict no-screen time before bed policy at my house. Because we all know that spending too much time staring at screens – be it computers, phones, iPads – plays havoc with sleep. But do you know why? Salk Institute researchers have pinpointed how certain cells in the eye process ambient light and reset our internal clocks, the daily cycles of physiological processes known as the circadian rhythm. When these cells are exposed to artificial light late into the night, our internal clocks can get confused, resulting in a host of health issues. The results, published November 27, 2018, in Cell Reports, may help lead to new treatments for migraines, insomnia, jet lag and circadian rhythm disorders, which have been tied to cognitive dysfunction, cancer, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and more.

First risk genes for ADHD found

(Science Daily, 11/28/2018, Aarhus University)

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most controversial topics in psychiatry. A major international collaboration headed by researchers from the Danish iPSYCH project, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium has for the first time identified genetic variants which increase the risk of ADHD. The new findings provide a completely new insight into the biology behind ADHD. In the study, the researchers have also compared the new results with those from a genetic study of continuous measures of ADHD behaviors in the general population. The researchers discovered that the same genetic variants that give rise to an ADHD diagnosis also affect inattention and impulsivity in the general population.

U.S. life expectancy declines again, a dismal trend not seen since World War I

(Washington Post, 11/29/2018, Lenny Bernstein)

U.S. life expectancy dropped in 2017 for the third consecutive year, as deaths by suicide and drug overdose continue to claim more American lives. The average American could expect to live to 78.6 years old in 2017, down from 78.7 in 2016, according to data released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). That decline may be modest, but it marks the third year in a row that life expectancy at birth has fallen — a noteworthy phenomenon, since the previous multiyear drop recorded by the NCHS was in the early 1960s. Drug overdoses set another annual record in 2017, cresting at 70,237 — up from 63,632 the year before, the government said in a companion report. The opioid epidemic continued to take a relentless toll, with 47,600 deaths in 2017 from drugs sold on the street such as fentanyl and heroin, as well as prescription narcotics. That was also a record number, driven largely by an increase in fentanyl deaths.

 

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola