My DNA test confirmed it: I’m not a morning person

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There’s a coded judgment that people who do well in the mornings hold against those of us who do not. "You’re just not a morning person," they say, the words dripping with the implication that our sluggishness in the AM is a result of slovenliness. It’s the same subtext you see held against fat people, as overweight bodies are viewed as the result of some moral failing. Thankfully, I have in my hand a piece of paper — well, on my computer, a PDF — to refute those biases. I’m not a morning person because I’m lazy, but because it’s coded into my genes.

I’ve learned this thanks to DNAfit, a company which knows more about me than I do at this point. It has previously examined my genetics to determine my perfect diet and exercise, as well as peering into my blood to help me get healthy. Now, I’ve tested its latest product, a Sleep and Stress examination to see how I can get calmer in the day and more rest in the night. As before, that required me to take a swab inside my cheeks and send it off to the lab for analysis.

My expectation that, as Engadget’s former "Mr. Chill," (a nickname I have since passed along), my response to stress would be poor. I can’t count the number of panic attacks, heavy breathing and aggressive displacement activity I’ve undergone in the face of a looming deadline. I expected the results to say that my response to stress would make Niles Crane look tough.

"In your case," said DNAfit’s Amy Wells, "you have a higher tolerance to stress than some people." The company’s lead dietician and wellness manager walked me through my results, explaining that I don’t "have a genetic predilection for feeling overwhelmed." In fact, I can take more stress, for longer, without any detriment to my health, than plenty of other people. Who knew.

DNAfit also looks at what the company calls the Warrior / Strategist gene, although it’s more commonly known as Warrior / Worrier. The genotype inside the COMT genes dictates how much dopamine — happy hormone — you release during periods of stress. The more dopamine, the thinking goes, the less clear-headed you are, reducing your ability to plan a clear response.

In an era where our bodies no longer face the threat of, say, wild animals every day, those stresses now come from more mundane sources. Wells suggested that the modern equivalent is when your boss rocks up to you at 4pm on a Friday, demanding you do a job by 5. "Knowing that you haven’t been able to prepare, or comprehend [the task at hand]," said Wells, "means you’ll deal with it less effectively."

DNAfit’s guides offer tips and tricks on how to overcome and manage our genetic responses to stress. In my case, that’s to be mindful, do regular cardio and practice deep and slow breathing so that I’m better prepared for stress. "You need to sit down and comprehend what is going on, then plan your steps to handle the situation." The advice is common for all genetic types, but the extent will vary; very stress-intolerant people should exercise and meditate more than others.

Of course, what was more interesting to me was the examination of my chronotype, the genetic clock lurking inside all of us. Essentially, there’s no ideal sleep pattern that we can, or should, follow and feel smug about. Instead, we should organize our days around what suits us, depending on when we’re going to be the most effective.

Dnafit

The documents told me that I had what’s called a Night Owl bias. "From your genetics," said Wells, "you’re more productive in the afternoon than in the morning." My hormone production spikes later in the day, which explains why I hate mornings so damn much. It also explains why, around 3pm, I get a burst of energy, and my days often finish with more writing than in the morning.

This truth erases years of psychic self-flagellation that strike whenever I think about my failed attempts to become a "morning person." My New Years’ Resolutions in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006. 2011 and 2012 all saw me resolve to wake up at 6am to exercise. Each year, I managed until January 4th or 5th before conceding that I wasn’t up to the task, and slept in.

"Oh, it’s far better for you to exercise in the evenings," said Wells, "and you’ll have a more effective training session by comparison." That’s not to say that I couldn’t or shouldn’t, have tried to exercise in the morning, but Wells explained that "it’s something you would struggle with, because of your hormonal activity later in the day."

The rest of the test was similarly validating, saying that I’m a poor sleeper with a higher than normal sensitivity to caffeine. I knew that already, and haven’t had tea or coffee regularly in the past six or seven years. That was wise, because my DORA genes are sensitive enough that caffeine will prevent [sleep hormone] adenosine from binding, keeping me awake.

Even when I do sleep, I’m still at risk of rousing thanks to the fact that my genes say that I’ll wake up several times in the night. Wells said that I should try and remove anything from my room that could risk disturbing me, like standby lights or weird noises. That’s easier said than done when you’re sleeping two feet away from a newborn, but it’s still instructive. I had to laugh, though, there are small pieces of blu-tack on every device’s standby light in my bedroom, and every night I sleep with an eye mask and earplugs.

Now, unfortunately, this test isn’t going to be available as a separate test for anyone to take, as with the others. Essentially, the Sleep and Stress tests are only available through a new sequencing process that only works as part of the Health Fit product (currently available for $195 / £145). So, if you want to learn about those issues, you’ll need to go for the company’s flagship test. The company is looking for ways of breaking out the examinations, especially for existing customers, but that will take time.

On one hand, it’s the sort of inessential test that you’d struggle to justify paying for on its own merits anyway. On the other, it doesn’t hurt to have this information if you’re the sort of person already shelling out cash to push your #marginalgoals to the limit. If you’re curious, DNAfit’s recommendations suggest that to be more productive, you should look after your health and balance your day when you know you’re at your best. Pretty much.

In my case, that means working more in the afternoon and less in the morning. Don’t believe me? Shut up, because I’ve got a note from my geneticist.

Source: DNAfit

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We’re at the start of a new era for marijuana-based medicine, according to the CEO behind the first prescription CBD drug

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  • A drug called Epidiolex made history last year when it became the first federally-approved prescription drug whose active ingredient comes from the marijuana plant.
  • Made with ultra-high doses of the cannabis compound CBD, Epidiolex treats two rare forms of epilepsy.
  • That drug may have blazed a trail that other pharmaceutical companies can follow.
  • The CEO of the company behind Epidiolex believes we’re at the beginning of a "new era" in cannabis-based medicines, he told Business Insider in an interview.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Last summer brought new meaning to the phrase "medical marijuana."

For the first time in history, US regulators approved a prescription drug whose active ingredient comes from the cannabis plant. Called Epidiolex, the drug uses ultra-high doses of the marijuana compound CBD to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. (One other marijuana-containing drug called Marinol is approved for nausea, but it’s made with a synthetic form of the compound THC.)

By securing a position as the first cannabis-based, federally-approved medication, Epidiolex may have blazed a trail that other drugmakers can follow.

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Almost exactly a year after Epidiolex’s approval, we’re at the very beginning of a "new era" for marijuana-based medicines, according to Justin Gover, the CEO of drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Epidiolex.

Epidiolex is "the first in a wholly new class of cannabis-derived medications," Gover told Business Insider in an interview. 

Read more: A drug derived from marijuana has become the first to win federal approval, and experts predict an avalanche effect

The journey to regulatory approval for Epidiolex was long and difficult, Gover said. But as a result of GW Pharma’s work with the Food and Drug Administration, other drugmakers who are pursuing marijuana-based treatments have a clearer framework for working with regulators and seeing their treatments considered for eventual approval.

First and foremost, companies need to provide regulators with a solid body of well-designed research, he said.

"If one applies the same rigorous standards to cannabis as they do to other drugs, they should be able to get a drug approved," he told Business Insider.

GW Pharma’s path to getting Epidiolex approved

Before giving Epidiolex the official green light, FDA regulators considered the results of several large clinical trials financed by GW Pharma and focused on whether Epidiolex improved the symptoms of hundreds of children with rare, hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy.

For a clinical trial whose results were published in 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine, 43% of children who took Epidiolex for roughly 3 months saw their number of seizures reduced by half, compared with just 27% who saw these reductions on a placebo. Of those patients who saw their seizure rates decline, 5% stopped having seizures altogether, compared with 0% of the patients given a placebo.

Read more: A pair of high-profile Stanford scientists wants to use marijuana to treat an entire class of diseases where big pharma has fallen short

For another clinical trial whose results were published a year later in the same journal, researchers also tested a lower dose of the drug and concluded that on average, seizure rates declined 42% in the higher-dose group and 37% in the lower-dose group, compared to just 17% in the group given a placebo.

Regulators reviewed those results before ultimately giving Epidiolex the green light last summer. 

"We’ve shown that good science can lead to approval," Gover said.

DON’T MISS: The CEO behind the first prescription marijuana drug explains what cannabis-based drug he wants to get approved next

SEE ALSO: A pair of high-profile Stanford scientists wants to use marijuana to treat an entire class of diseases where big pharma has fallen short

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Astronomers May Have Found Our Next Home: Two ‘Nearby’ Earth-Sized Planets Discovered That Might Support Life

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Astronomers Discovered Two Earth-Sized Planets That Might Support Life

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Since we seem to be using up our current home, Earth, at a rather alarming pace, astronomers and scientists have been hard at work looking for a new place that we humans can call home at some point in the (distant?) future.

BONUS: These two newly-discovered, possibly habitable planets are only 12.5 light years from Earth! (That’s 73,483,000,000,000 miles in American. Easy-peasy.)

The two planets orbit Teegarden’s star, the 24th closest star to the sun, a red dwarf star that was only just discovered in 2003. These two new potential exoplanets were spotted this month using an instrument called CARMENES (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs) during a survey being conducted for exoplanets.

According to CNN

Research on the planets and their sun, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, reveals Teegarden’s star seems to be stable, without large solar flares or other violent activity that could threaten the potential for life on the two promising candidates.

If the estimated orbit and rotation speeds are accurate, and there are no unexpected factors in the solar system to disrupt astronomers’ other calculations, Teegarden’s two planets could host rocky environments and flowing, puddling water. However, all of these assumptions are estimates, and not actually firsthand observations — for now. The Teegardan planet discoveries are part of a larger effort by astronomers to locate potentially life-supporting planets in order to refine observation and research technology, like high-powered telescopes, to learn even more about them.

A press release announcing the discovery states…

The innermost planet Teegarden b has a 60% chance of having a temperate surface environment, that is temperatures between 0° to 50°C. Surface temperature should be closer to 28°C (2) assuming a similar terrestrial atmosphere but could be higher or lower depending on its composition.

Teegarden b is the planet with the highest Earth Similarity Index (ESI) discovered so far, which means that it has the closest mass and insolation to terrestrial values, albeit we only know its minimum mass (3). However, how this translates to habitability depends on many other factors, especially since this planet orbits a red dwarf star.

In the immortal words of one Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

Yes, Lloyd. Yes, there is.

Check out a simulated tour from our solar system to Teegarden’s star system created by the University of Göttingen and another video that goes further in depth on the discovery below.

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This carbon fiber hybrid piano has a built-in battery and looks wow

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The Exxeo is a hybrid piano that carries an eloquent design that’s crafted out of a material more commonly used within the automotive industry… Carbon Fibre. This breath-taking musical instrument breaks away from the traditional form, with its organically shaped surfaces confidently dancing to create a sculpture-like form.

Effort hasn’t solely been invested into the piano’s aesthetics, but also its acoustic performance is superior to its conventional counterpart. Fast key repetition paired with an enhanced realism system enables the pianist to achieve the softest pianissimo to the boldest fortissimo. This leads to a theatrical experience that is filled with depth and emotion.

Whilst the use of carbon fibre allows for the fluid shape to be possible, it does also have practical benefits; due to its resistance to moisture, it makes Exxeo ideal for humid environments, such as mega-yachts and cruise ships!

The Exxeo Hybrid Piano is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2019.

Designer: Iman Maghsoudi of EXXEO

“The project was born out of the frustration that static table-like form of traditional pianos, simply didn’t fit into contemporary living environments. We believed that the piano is an obvious part of modern living and should be designed to reflect that fact. Initial concepts developed based on the understanding that Everything in Existence is the result of a Frequency. Sound is the basis of Shape and Form. We were fascinated by harmonic fluence of the sound waves,” Maghsoudi explains to YD.

Exxeo captures the magnificent tone of flagship concert grand pianos. Award-winning soundboard speaker system; Harmonic Imaging™ XL technology, recreates the broad dynamic range of the original grand pianos through the use of a 200 Watts, 9 speaker sound system.

Exxeo is the only hybrid piano in the world equipped with a dedicated built-in battery. The high capacity power unit is mounted in the tail section. It enables the piano to perform up to 20 hours on a single charge.

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Rihanna and Seth Meyers go day drinking and things escalate very, very fast

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These two really don’t hold back.

In the segment above from Late Night, Seth Meyers joins Rihanna for shots, pints, and a host of deeply disgusting cocktails that are all (very) loosely based on the titles of her songs.

They play drinking games, they give each other life advice — and, somewhat inevitably, the segment ends with Meyers getting a very messy makeover while singing a questionable rendition of "Work". Read more…

More about Rihanna, Seth Meyers, Entertainment, Talk Show, and Celebrities

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