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Sleep Quality, Social Factors Predict IL-6 in Women

Levels of inflammation-promoting cytokine are lower in good sleepers with healthy relationships

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MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who have good sleep quality and social relationships have lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6, according to study findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Plasma IL-6 concentrations increase with age and are associated with a number of aging-related disorders including Alzheimer disease and osteoporosis. Elliot M. Friedman, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues examined sleep quality and social behavior in 74 women, average age 73.4 years, to determine if these behavioral characteristics could predict IL-6 levels.

Women who had both good sleep quality and good social relationships had the lowest levels of IL-6 on average. The inverse was true for poor sleepers with poor social relationships. However, having either good sleep quality or good relationships could compensate for the other with respect to IL-6 levels.

"These findings suggest that strong social relationships and good quality sleep contribute, additively and interactively, to advantaged biological profiles in aging women," the authors write. "They also offer a potential target for interventions designed to increase the likelihood of successful aging."

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