A study (#0768) being presented this afternoon as an oral presentation demonstrates a specific neurochemical abnormality in adults with primary insomnia, providing greater insight to the limited understanding of the condition’s pathology.
Results indicate that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most common inhibitory transmitter in the brain, is reduced by nearly 30 percent in individuals with primary insomnia. These findings suggest that primary insomnia is a manifestation of a neurobiological state of hyperarousal. Approximately 25 percent of people suffering from insomnia are considered to have primary insomnia, which is defined as a difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep in the absence of coexisting conditions.
The research team also published their study results in the November 1, 2008, issue of the journal SLEEP. Read the AASM press release.
The principal investigator of the study, Dr. John Winkelman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., will chair a related symposium later this morning at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. The symposium, “Neurobiological Correlates of Insomnia,” will explore the neurophysiologic features of insomnia.
You can download the SLEEP 2009 abstract supplement as an 11 MB file in PDF format.