Islamabad - People who get less than six hours of sleep a night may be more likely to have risk factors that increase their odds of diabetes, heart disease and strokes, a Korean study suggests.

This combination of risk factors including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, extra fat around the midsection, high blood pressure and excess amounts of fats in the blood is known as metabolic syndrome.

“The ‘short sleepers’ should be aware of the risks of developing metabolic syndrome, which could lead them to suffer from life threatening and chronic diseases,” a private news channel quoted a study of an author Dr Jang Young Kim of Yonsei University in South Korea.

Kim’s team followed about 2,600 adults for more than two years and found that participants who didn’t get at least six hours of sleep a night were 41 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than individuals who got six to eight hours of shuteye.

Short sleep duration was linked to about 30 percent increased risk of high blood sugar and excess belly fat, as well as 56 percent higher odds of hypertension, compared to those who slept longer. To avoid the ill effects of insufficient sleep, patients should take a close look at their daily routines and make sure they allow enough time in their schedule for rest.

Study sheds light on body’s varied response to exercise

Resistance exercise is the way to go for people who want to increase their muscle size and strength, while endurance exercise is key for boosting stamina. But what are the mechanisms that drive the body’s response to these different forms of exercise?

Resistance exercise is defined as any activity that causes the skeletal muscles to contract, such as weightlifting, push-ups and squats. Endurance exercise, or aerobic exercise, is any activity that maintains an increase in heart rate and breathing, such as walking, cycling and swimming.

Both forms of exercise have a different impact on the body. While resistance exercise can improve strength of skeletal muscles, endurance exercise can improve overall functional capacity.

Study co-author Heikki Kainulainen and colleagues noted, “there have been attempts to identify single signaling cascades or molecules that could work as a master regulator for controlling exercise-specific adaptations.”

Previous research has indicated that a gene called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1? (PGC-1?) may be involved in how the body responds to certain forms of exercise. The team set out to investigate the role of this gene further in this latest study.

The researchers enrolled 19 physically active men to their study and divided them into two groups. One group performed 50 minutes of endurance exercise in the form of walking on a treadmill, while the other group performed 50 minutes of leg press exercises, representing resistance activity.

Biopsies were taken from the thigh muscles of the men just before exercise, as well as 30 and 180 minutes after, which the researchers analyzed in order to assess PGC-1? activity.

The team found that both endurance and resistance exercise stimulated the PGC-1? gene, causing it to produce isoforms known as PGC-1? exon 1b, PGC-1? exon 1b’ and truncated PGC-1?. Isoforms are different types of a protein that are produced from the same gene or produced from different genes if only a part of a gene’s code is identified.

However, the researchers noticed that only endurance exercise triggered the production of an isoform called PGC-1? exon 1a.

What is more, the team found that endurance exercise activated genes that encouraged new blood vessel growth and increased stamina. While resistance exercise also stimulated a gene that boosted blood vessel growth, it also activated a gene that stimulated muscle growth.