Saturday January 25, 2020

New Sleeping Pill Can Help Patients Wake up in Response to Threat

However, more studies on humans are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy, they noted

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Pills (representational Image), Pixabay

Japanese scientists have shown that a new class of sleeping pill that preserves the ability to wake in response to a threat, unlike the commonly prescribed drugs that muffles a sleeping brain’s “intruder alert”.

Even during sleep the brain continuously processes sensory information, waking us if it detects a threat. But the most widely prescribed class of sleeping pills, known as benzodiazepines, makes us less likely to rouse in response to sensory input.

The findings showed that millions prescribed on these sleeping pills would sleep through a fire alarm as someone vacuuming next to their bed.

 However, the new class of drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs) more selectively targeted the brain’s sleep or wake pathways, which gives them safety advantages over benzodiazepines, said researchers from the Kagoshima University.

These include a reduced “hangover effect”, with DORAs less likely to affect driving ability the day after use.

“Benzodiazepines stimulate the widespread brain receptor GABA-A, which makes us sleepy but also suppresses off-target brain areas – including the ‘gatekeeper’ that decides which sensory inputs to process,” explained author Tomoyuki Kuwaki, Professor at the varsity.

Contraception, Men
New sleeping pill can help patients wake up in response to threat.

In the study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, mice that were given the new experimental hypnotic drug DORA-22 wake as quickly when threatened as drug-free sleepers — and then fall back asleep as quickly as ones given standard sleeping pills, once the threat is gone.

While DORA-22 allows mice to wake to a threat, it still helps them sleep.

Thus, the selectivity of DORAs could make them a safer alternative during sleep as well — by allowing the brain’s sensory gatekeeper to stay vigilant to threats, the researchers said.

Also Read- Here’s What Causes Cancer in Children

However, more studies on humans are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy, they noted.

“Although it remains to be seen whether DORAs have the same properties when used in humans, our study provides important and promising insight into the safety of these hypnotics,” Kuwaki said. (IANS)

Next Story

Stroke Patients At a Risk of Suffering From Heart Attack: Study

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Heart attack
Stroke Patients more likely to have a heart attack or another major cardiovascular event within thirty days of having a stroke. Pixabay

Both women and men are significantly more likely to have a heart attack or another major cardiovascular event, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Stroke, demonstrated for the first time that in people with no underlying heart disease, after a stroke they were more than 20 times more likely than those who didn’t have a stroke (23-fold in women and 25-fold in men) to have a first-in-life major adverse cardiovascular event.

These events include things like heart attack, chest pain, cardiac failure or cardiac death.

This risk dropped after 30 days, but even one year after a stroke, men and women both still had twice the risk of a major cardiac event than those who didn’t have a stroke, according to the study.

“This shows that after taking risk factors into consideration, having experienced a recent stroke was independently associated with the incidence of major adverse cardiac events,” said study researcher Luciano Sposato, Associate Professor at Western University in Canada.

Heart attack
Stroke Patients may suffer from heart attack, chest pain, cardiac failure or cardiac death. Pixabay

“This leads us to believe that there are underlying mechanisms linked to stroke that may be causing heart disease,” Sposato added.

For the findings, the research team examined ICES data for more than 90,000 adults over the age of 65 in Ontario with no pre-existing clinical diagnosis of heart disease.

The researchers examined the incidence of cardiac events in two groups – a group of just over 20,000 that had a stroke and a group of approximately 70,000 individuals without stroke but with similar vascular risk factors, comorbidities and demographic characteristics.

In a paper published earlier in 2019, Sposato and collaborators used animal models to back up this finding by demonstrating that the brain damage caused by stroke leads to inflammation and scarring in the left atrium of the heart.

Also Read- Women Who Have Less Sex Experience an Early Menopause: Study

These changes are well-known structural abnormalities for a number of heart diseases such as heart attacks, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.

The researchers hope this information will inform clinical practice and encourage health care providers to watch for cardiovascular symptoms in patients who recently had strokes. (IANS)