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Germany

Overslept Again? New Research Lets You Blame It On 'Good Sleeper' Genes

We already knew that stress, alcohol, coffee and mental disorders could affect the quality and duration of our sleep. Research now suggests that genes play a role as well. European scientists recently isolated a gene that may affect a person's ni

Sweet dreams, good excuse  (aramolara)
Sweet dreams, good excuse (aramolara)


*NEWSBITES

Britain's "Iron Lady," Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, needed just four hours of sleep per night, or so they say. Albert Einstein, on the other hand, enjoyed lengthy 11-hour snoozes before returning each morning to rewriting the laws of physics. Was Thatcher a masochist? Einstein just lazy?

Personal preference, it turns out, may not have had much to do with it? A European study published in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry has just shown that a particular form of a gene —called ABCC9 — increases the average length of an individual's nightly sleep by half an hour.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, questioned about 10,000 people from all around Europe on their sleeping habits. They were particularly curious to know how long people stay in bed on days when they don't have any pressing reason to wake up early.

By comparing the duration of sleep with the results of a genetic analysis from a blood sample, the scientists found out that sleepers carrying a particular form of the ABCC9 gene typically spent more than eight hours in bed. People without the gene averaged just 7.5 hours. The researchers hope their discovery will lead the way towards more physiologically adapted sleep aids.

This is not the first time scientists have linked specific genes to different sleeping patterns. Tests involving rats and mice, for example, have shown how gene makeup can determine whether the animal is a "morning" or "evening" creature.

Researchers have also linked sleeping patterns to certain health problems. People who sleep fewer than six hours per day are more likely to have diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or cardiovascular disorders.

Read the original article in French by Martine Perez

Photo – aramolara

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Russia

No Putin, No Russia? Why Losing The War Wouldn't Destroy The Russian Federation

Predictions about the collapse of Russia are as old as the country itself. Yet a consistent centralization of power has gone on for decades, weakening Russia's territories and republics. The war in Ukraine changes everything and nothing.

Photo of a Russian flag during Unity Day celebrations

Russian unity day celebrations

Aleksandr Kynev

-Analysis-

The prediction “Russia is about to fall apart” has been a mainstay of the political science-futurist genre for the 30 years since the end of the USSR and establishment of the Russian Federation.

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Now, the war with Ukraine has drastically reduced the time-frame for such apocalyptic forecasts to come true. First, because it turns out that Russia can very well lose the war; and secondly, a defeat would weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime — and who knows if he will retain power at all?

“No Putin, no Russia” is a more recent refrain.

This line of thinking says that the weakening of the central government will push the regions to act independently. Yet noted political scientist Alexander Kynev explained in an interview with Vazhnyye Istorii why he doesn't believe anything like this will happen. The collapse of Russia is unlikely even if Putin loses.

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