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Late nights and disease

It took only one night of too little sleep to change blood levels of an inflammation-causing protein in women volunteers

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12:13pm, September 15, 2008

15Staying up late makes for a swell time, but not in a good way.

A finding appearing in the Sept. 15 Biological Psychiatry offers more evidence that lack of sleep can lead to inflammation and disease.

After one night of too little sleep, women volunteers in a study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles had higher levels of a chemical that triggers inflammation than after a full night of sleep.

Previous research with animals has shown that staying up all night can trigger stress reactions, including elevating some markers of inflammation. Inflammation can lead to disease. But people usually experience milder sleep deprivation, missing out on a few hours of sleep each night.

The increase in markers of inflammation after mild sleep deprivation shows how stressful even this more common sleep loss is, comments Amita Sehgal, a neuroscientist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investiga

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