Alice: Hello, I'm Alice…Stephen: And I'm Stephen.

    Alice: And this is 6 Minute English! This week we’re talking about sleepwalking.
    Have you ever walked in your sleep, Stephen?
    Stephen: I don’t think so, but I’ve been known to tell stories in my sleep.
    Alice: Oh, fascinating. This is a new development by scientists in the United Statesthat shows that sleepwalking is genetic – it’s passed on from parent to child.
    They’ve been looking at the genes of four generations of a family who have alot of sleepwalkers. But before we find out more, I have a question for you,Stephen. What do the letters REM stand for? And it’s not just the name of anAmerican pop group….
    Stephen: REM – that’s something to do with sleep?
    Alice: It is – does it stand for:
    a) rapid eye movementb) random eye movement orc) relative eye movementStephen: I’m going to guess a) rapid eye movement.
    Alice: As usual, I won’t tell you the answer now – we’ll find out at the end of theprogramme! So let’s hear more about what it’s like to be a sleepwalker. Here’sMargaret Brand, a woman who often spends several hours a night sleepwalking:
    Insert 1: Margaret BrandSometimes I was just back in bed and didn’t know that I’d sleepwalked. But I’d wakeup in the morning and find that things had been moved or eaten or forgotten – and ithad to be me because I was the only person in the flat. Other times I would wake up,usually in the kitchen. I took medication – on one occasion, three 20ml doses ofmorphine.
    Alice: Margaret Brand said that she moves or eats things when she’s sleepwalking,and she once took medication – drugs - while she was asleep.
    Stephen: She says on one occasion, she took doses of morphine.
    Alice: That’s dangerous. There are also other instances when sleepwalking can put theperson or other people in danger. Dr Dev Banerjee is a sleep expert at theHeartlands Hospital in Birmingham, in the UK. He says that there have beenoccasions when sleepwalkers have injured themselves, or even got into theircars to drive:
    Insert 2: Dr Dev BanerjeeI think (for) the majority of those that sleepwalk (it) is fairly harmless and quite novelactually, but there are a proportion who do injure themselves, fall down the stairs. I’vegot someone from Bristol who put his hand through a glass window and severed hisradial artery. Not only just injuries, but risks of injuries such as getting out of the house,onto the street. There have been cases, I think in America, where people got into theircar and drove down a freeway.
    Alice: Dr Dev Banerjee, who says that usually sleepwalking is harmless – even novel– unique and quite amusing.
    Stephen: What else do scientists know about sleepwalking, Alice?
    Alice: They know it’s pretty common. One in five children sleepwalk and one in tenadults. And there’s a new development by scientists in the United States thatshows it runs in families – it’s genetic.
    Stephen: It is passed on from parent to child in a person’s genes. Genes control whichfeatures identify a person.
    Alice: Scientists examined the DNA – the genetic code of a family of four generationswho suffer from sleepwalking, and found that they carried a defective gene,chromosome 20.
    Stephen: A defective gene – that’s a gene which has a fault. DNA is the complicatedcode that makes a human unique and is carried from generation to generation.
    Alice: Once the defective gene has been identified it means it could be easier to findtreatments and tests for sleepwalkers. People that carry the defective gene havea 50-50 chance of passing it onto their children.
    Stephen: 50–50 - that means they have an equal chance of either inheriting the gene ornot inheriting it! 50 per cent vs per cent.
    Alice: Here’s the BBC’s Health Reporter, Michelle Roberts:
    Insert 2: Michelle RobertsDNA analysis of the 22 relatives, from the great-grandparents downwards, located thechromosome where the fault lies. Sleepwalkers with these genes on chromosome 20, hada 50-50 chance of passing them onto their children. More work is needed to see if thediscovery will explain all cases of sleepwalking, but in the meantime, the researchers sayit should help them to develop tests and treatments.
    Alice: The BBC’s Health Reporter, Michelle Roberts, who says more work is neededto see if the discovery of the sleepwalking gene will help explain all cases ofsleepwalking. Well, that’s all we have time for today, Stephen – but before wego, what did you think about REM?
    Stephen: I guessed that it stands for ‘rapid eye movement’.
    Alice: And you’re right. It’s the stage of sleep where your eyes move around a lot –and it’s about 20-25% of your total sleep apparently.
    Stephen: Well, don’t say you don’t learn anything new on 6 Minute English!
    Alice: Exactly, Stephen. And before we go, because you did so well answering thequestion, would you mind reading some of the words and phrases we’ve heardtoday?
    Stephen: Yes of course:
    sleepwalkgeneticgenesdoses of medicationharmless6 Minute English ? 2011Page 5 of 6it runs in familiesgenerationsdefective50-50Alice: Thanks so much for that, Stephen. We hope you’ll join us next time on "6Minute English".
    Both: Bye.