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Book and Media Review
August 2014

Review of The Genetic Basis of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Sleep Disorders, Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(8):1058-1060. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.1451

The Genetic Basis of Sleep and Sleep Disorders
Paul Shaw, Mehdi Tafti, Michael Thorpy, eds
413 pp, $135, ISBN 978-1-107-04125-7, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

With 76 different contributors spanning a broad range of sleep-related scientific disciplines, including basic biology, neuroscience, human genetics and genomics, psychiatry, and neurology, The Genetic Basis of Sleep and Sleep Disorders is an extensive review of the current knowledge in the field of sleep biology and of the contributions of genetic factors to establishing normal sleep patterns and risk for sleep disorders. The text is organized into sections based on the overall topic of interest. Section 1 begins with detailed discussions of both the statistical and molecular methods available for gene discovery. Section 2 presents current hypotheses regarding the underlying genetics of sleep and circadian rhythm regulation. Section 3 describes what has been learned about the underlying biology of normal sleep physiology via genetic studies. Sections 4 through 8 are categorized based on the particular sleep disorder of interest (ie, insomnia, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, circadian rhythms, and restless legs syndrome). These sections detail the current knowledge of the potential genetic underpinnings for each of these disorders. Section 9 focuses on other medical conditions, outside of sleep disorders, showing evidence for a biological relationship with sleep. Finally, section 10 concludes with a discussion of the possibilities for using genetic information to help develop personalized treatments for sleep disorders that are effective, safe, and well tolerated.

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