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UMC Researchers Studying How Sleep Affects African Americans’ Health

By Daniel Cherry | Published 31 Dec 2012 01:33pm | comments
Researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center hope a new multi-million dollar sleep study will help some residents live longer. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, those behind the study will look into how sleep disorders affect chronic diseases. 
 
The average person spends 29 hundred hours sleeping each year...that's 26 years over a lifetime. A new 3.8 million dollar study underway at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is the first to review the effects sleep disorders have on cardiovascular disease and stroke in African Americans. Dr. Tandaw Samdarshi, the principal investigator, says, the study's unique focus is because African Americans have higher instances of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
 
"It becomes even more important for a study to be targeted to a particular population which is more prone for those kind of problems to see if that is true, that is one, and then the second, if it is, if we can come up with some treatment to see what it does to the chronic profile of the health on a longer basis."
 
A pilot study found African Americans have higher rates of sleep disorder breathing, like Sleep Apnea, which interfere with deep sleep and lower oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Dr. Samdarshi points out, chronic diseases account for an enormous amount of healthcare costs. He thinks it's time to look into how sleep affects those diseases and, hopefully, find some solutions.
 
"Based on the data that we are getting from other groups, I think it is a big part of our life that has not been explored in that magnitude, and certainly needs to be tackled if we are really looking at saving expense on the healthcare."
 
The study is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Researchers will follow 12 hundred African Americans in the Jackson area for four years. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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