I have looked up in the dictionary :

  • upregulated (medical:the process of increasing the response to a stimulus)

  • by way of (You use by way of when you are explaining the purpose of something that you have said or are about to say. For example, if you say something by way of an introduction, you say it as an introduction.).

But I can't combine those meaning in to this sentence to understand what the speaker want to talk about.

Now those genes that were switched off by a lack of sleep were genes associated with your immune system, so once again, you can see that immune deficiency. In contrast, those genes that were actually upregulated or increased by way of a lack of sleep, were genes associated with the promotion of tumors, genes associated with long-term chronic inflammation within the body, and genes associated with stress, and, as a consequence, cardiovascular disease.

Source : https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_walker_sleep_is_your_superpower/transcript#t-44349 (13:08)

1 Answer 1


In this context, Professor Walker could have left the "way of" out of "by way of" without losing meaning.


those genes that were actually upregulated (or increased)* by way of a lack of sleep

is essentially the same as

those genes that were actually upregulated (or increased) by a lack of sleep

which really just means

the genes that respond positively to lack of sleep.

In context, the whole paragraph says.

Genes associated with the immune system are "turned off" when you don't get enough sleep, while genes that are associated with tumors and their growth, chronic inflammation and stress are actually "turned on" by a lack of sleep.

*After watching some of the video, I believe Professor Walker was attempting to keep jargon to a minimum, but "upregulated" slipped out. I don't think he meant "upregulated or increased," I think he meant "upregulated, which, in case you didn't know, means 'increased'" and so I added parentheses.

  • By the way, "by way of" means "respond to" Dallium?
    – Tan Nguyen
    Feb 13, 2020 at 2:28
  • 1
    @TanNguyen Not exactly. I'll edit for clarity
    – Dallium
    Feb 13, 2020 at 2:50

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