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Dr Judite Blanc Discusses Digging Deeper, Getting to the Root of Sleep Health


Judite Blanc, PhD, is lead author on the abstract, “Social Determinants of Sleep Disorders Among Multiethnic Americans in the NIH All of Us Research Program,” which was presented on June 5th at the SLEEP 2023 conference.

The NIH All of Us Research Program is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded initiative with the goal to compile “one of the most diverse health databases in history...to learn how our biology, lifestyle, and environment affect health,” according to NIH. The database will include information on social determinants of health, electronic health records, and DNA among others.

Judite Blanc, PhD, is research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Center for Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences. She is currently building out the Holistic Families lab to investigate and tackle unique stress responses among marginalized families, women, and children. She is also lead author on the abstract, “Social Determinants of Sleep Disorders Among Multiethnic Americans in the NIH All of Us Research Program,” which was presented on June 5th at SLEEP 2023.


What are immediate next steps for sleep research in All of Us and future investigative priorities?

The data that we are presenting at the sleep conference is preliminary data. After the sleep conference, we hope that, based on feedback we get from the public, and the fact that we'll have more time for the paper because there will be a paper that will come out of it very soon, the plan is to dive in deeper. For example, All of Us also has other auxiliary data such as Fitbit. But what we are reporting right now, we are not including Fitbit. So, we hope that we’ll be able to include the Fitbit data. We hope also to break the sleeping diagnosis problem into individual components. Right now, the presentation is mostly about recorded sleep disorders in general. For the next phase of the analysis, we'll work on each sleep component or each sleep disorder individually.

We'll also take into account genetic data available. We’ll ensure that we focus on our analysis by age. For now, we are reporting the range of sleep disorders, the prevalence of sleep disorder by age range, but personally, I have a specific interest in younger individuals. Also, I have an interest in [research for] women. We found that, also among the population, men had lower reported sleeping problems. So, I want to dive into that to see, what are the specific characteristics to women that are making them more vulnerable to sleep disorders.

In general, those are the priorities for the next step. It's a working group; we're going to go deeper into the data set. The hope is, at some point, to ensure that our research is able to enhance and also advance data on which specific social determinants of health is mostly associated with sleeping problems.

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