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Study Finds Shared Genetic Contributors to Insomnia, Sepsis

In JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Nord University, and elsewhere present findings from a Mendelian randomization study that suggests genetic contributors to insomnia may also dial up sepsis risk. Starting with 555 genetic variants linked to insomnia through a genome-wide association study, the team analyzed potential ties between the conditions using genetic data for some 2.4 million individuals from the UK Biobank Project and 23andMe with or without insomnia, along with 10,154 sepsis cases and nearly 452,800 controls of European ancestry from the UK Biobank Project. The analyses pointed to an uptick in sepsis cases in individuals with genetically predicted insomnia, particularly in women — ties that appeared to reflect shared cardiometabolic risk factors such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. "Our aim was to assess if insomnia is associated with risk of sepsis when applying instrumental variable analyses using genetic instruments," the authors write, noting that the results "support a potential causal association between genetically predicted insomnia and risk of sepsis."