islamabad-New research finds that for these individuals, abnormal sleep patterns can exacerbate the problem.

The study found that people genetically predisposed to obesity whose sleep duration was too long or too short weighed more than those who slept for the recommended 7-9 hours each night.

For this latest research, study co-author Dr Jason Gill - from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom - and colleagues assessed the effect of poor sleep habits on the weight of individuals at high genetic risk for obesity.

Specifically, the researchers looked at participants’ genetic risk for obesity, as well as self-reported data on average sleep duration, daytime napping, and whether their employment involved shift work.

The body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference of each participant were also assessed.

Among adults who had high genetic risk of obesity, researchers found that those who slept for under 7 hours each night were around 2 kilograms heavier than those who slept for 7-9 hours, while adults who slept for more than 9 hours per night were around 4 kilograms heavier.

Adults who worked shifts or took naps during the day were also more likely to carry excess weight if they had a high genetic obesity risk, compared with those who did not work shifts or take daytime naps.

However, among people with a low genetic risk for obesity, abnormal sleep patterns did not appear have a significant impact on weight. “[...] these people appear to be able to ‘get away’ with poorer sleep habits to some extent,” says Dr Gill.

The team’s findings remained after accounting for diet, socio demographic factors, and health problems. Overall, the researchers believe that their findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, particularly for those who are genetically predisposed for weight gain. Study co-author Dr Carlos Celis-Morales, BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glasgow said that “It appears that people with high genetic risk for obesity need to take more care about lifestyle factors to maintain a healthy bodyweight. Our data suggest that sleep is another factor which needs to be considered, alongside diet and physical activity.”

 According to a new study, however, physical activity is the best way to combat this common side effect. Researchers compared a variety of treatments for cancer-related fatigue to find that exercise or psychological interventions fared best, while drug treatments were less effective.

Based on their findings, the authors suggest that doctors should recommend exercise or psychological therapies to patients with cancer-related fatigue in the first instance, rather than turning to medications. The researchers found that exercise and psychological interventions were equally effective for reducing cancer-related fatigue, as determined by measures on various fatigue assessments - including the Piper Fatigue Scale and the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory.

Drug treatments, which included modafinil and Ritalin, were found to be less effective than both exercise and psychological interventions.

Based on these findings, the team says that doctors should focus less on recommending drug treatments for patients with cancer-related fatigue, and more on physical activity and psychological therapies.

“The literature bears out that these drugs don’t work very well although they are continually prescribed,” says Mustian. “Cancer patients already take a lot of medications and they all come with risks and side effects. So any time you can subtract a pharmaceutical from the picture it usually benefits patients.”

Karen Mustian said that “If a cancer patient is having trouble with fatigue, rather than looking for extra cups of coffee, a nap, or a pharmaceutical solution, consider a 15-minute walk.

It’s a really simple concept but it’s very hard for patients and the medical community to wrap their heads around it because these interventions have not been front-and-centre in the past. Our research gives clinicians a valuable asset to alleviate cancer-related fatigue.”