Apr 6, 2020

Causal relationships between substance use and insomnia

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Joelle A. PasmanK. J. H. Verweij


Background: Poor sleep quality and insomnia have been associated with the use of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis, but it is unclear if there is a causal link. In this Mendelian Randomization (MR) study we examine if insomnia causes substance use and/or if substance use causes insomnia. Methods: MR uses summary effect estimates from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to create a genetic instrumental variable for a proposed exposure variable and then identifies that same genetic instrument in an outcome GWAS. With data of GWAS of insomnia, smoking (initiation, heaviness, cessation), alcohol use (drinks per week, dependence), and cannabis initiation, bi-directional causal effects were tested. Multiple sensitivity analyses were applied to assess the robustness of the findings. Results: There was strong evidence for positive causal effects of insomnia on all substance use phenotypes (smoking traits, alcohol dependence, cannabis initiation), except alcohol per week. The effects on alcohol dependence and cannabis initiation were attenuated after filtering out pleiotropic SNPs. In the other direction, there was strong evidence that smoking initiation increased chances of insomnia (smoking heaviness and cessation could not be tested ...Continue Reading

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