Lack of sleep may raise ulcer risk

Author Unspecified
DateApril 12, 2001
Copyright Copyright (C) 2001 Reuters
  • variables
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  • sleep
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Working shifts, partying all night, long-haul travel and just a general lack of sleep may lead to an increase risk of ulcers, British doctors said Thursday.
Chemicals in the stomach and small intestine that repair tissue damage are produced mostly at night, so missing sleep could lead to a decrease in the molecules and a higher chance of developing ulcers.
Doctors at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England measured levels of a protein called TFF2, which repairs damage in the gut, in 12 healthy people during 24 hours to determine how their sleep patterns affected the production of the protein.
They found that levels of the protein followed a circadian rhythm and were lowest during the afternoon and early evening
"What we've shown is that there is this increase in TFF2. We speculate that the natural function of that increase is that much of the repair (to the stomach lining) would occur during the night," Dr. Felicity May told Reuters.
"This might be the explanation for an increase in ulcers."
The lining of the stomach is continually damaged by physical abrasions and by food and drink so it is important that it is repaired quickly or the tissue will be destroyed.
The TFF2 protein, which increases by up to 340 times during sleep, is thought to help repair the damage and prevent ulcers or sores in the digestive tract that do not heal.
The research is reported in the latest edition of the journal Gut.