Category Archives: Doctors & Insurance

Using 23&Me and Promethease To Understand Health Risks

September 22, 2017
Since I was in my early twenties, I've suspected that my sleep disorders were genetic - inherited from my father's side of the family. Ten years ago, my suspicions were confirmed when UCSF Laboratories of Neurogenetics found "very interesting findings" regarding the 'night owl gene' in my genome. In the past year, I've learned more about my genes through 23&Me, a direct-to-consumer genetic test, and Promethease, a personal DNA health report service. 23&Me provides information on…

First Gene Variant for Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder Discovered!

August 3, 2017
Last month, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder sufferers rejoiced as scientists announced the discovery of a mutation in the circadian gene, CRY1. This mutation slows the circadian clock, which controls behavior such as sleep/wake cycles. People with the “night owl” variant of CRY1 have a longer circadian cycle than most, causing them to stay awake later and have trouble getting up in the morning. The finding by The Rockefeller University substantiates what DSPD sufferers have long believed - that night owl tendencies are hardwired into one's genes.…

UCSF Study – Part 1, My Time as a Guinea Pig

April 20, 2017
Ten years ago, I participated in a genetic study at UCSF Mission Bay's Laboratories of Neurogenetics. Overlooking the San Francisco Bay, the labs focus on human genetics and developmental neuroscience. By studying families with neurological phenotypes (which means 'heritable genetic identity'), UCSF researchers are identifying genes that cause various disorders of the nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. In 2006, the labs had started to research circadian sleep disorders and, naturally, I was eager to learn…

Blame Your Parents – It’s Your Genes

March 20, 2017
Evidence continues to mount that certain types of sleep behaviors are governed by our genes. Genes typically implicated in circadian sleep disorders are Period (PER1, PER2 and PER3) genes. For those who suffer from Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, one of the culprits is a polymorphism (which means 'genetic variation') of the PER3 gene. This research is not new - here's an excerpt from a study in a 2003 issue of Sleep magazine: "The Per3 polymorphism correlated significantly with extreme diurnal preference, the longer allele associating…

Treatments for DSPS

February 5, 2017
Here’s a partial list of the “treatments” I’ve tried so far: Light Therapy: Bright light therapy (10,000 lux light box, Feel Bright Light visor, Golite Blue Energy Light, etc.) in the morning. Light restriction (a.k.a. darkness therapy) via blue-light blocking glasses, black out curtains, f.lux on various screens. Using dim red-filtered light to avoid polychromatic and blue light in the evening. “Natural” Remedies: Valerian, passionflower extract, milky oats, catnip, skull cap, hops, teas, strong chamomile tea, natural GABA…

Cortisol Levels Over A 24-Hour Period

January 31, 2017
This graph shows the peak cortisol release over a 24-hour period for a "normal" person (you can see it peaks around 8 am). I recently did an at-home cortisol saliva test - I collected samples four times (morning, noon, evening, and at bedtime) throughout the day. Since my sleep is delayed about four hours from a "normal" person, I did my morning sample at 11 am (I usually sleep 3:30-ish to 10:30-ish), my noon sample at 3 pm, my…