Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sleep Deprivation #5

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center recently released study results that were published in Science Translational Medicine. Scientists have puzzled over what sleep really does for the brain and for brain-body health. Turns out that sleep clears the brain of toxins, the same type of damaging molecules that have been associated with loss of brain function and that have been found to contribute to Alzheimer's disease. (Wouldn't it be amazing if adequate sleep turned out to be linked with prevention of Alzheimer's or at least the slowing of development of symptoms?) By-products of neural activity accumulate when you are awake; sleep cleans up the brain and gets rid of these by-products. Studies with mice showed that during sleep the brain's "plumbing system" appears to "open,"allowing fluid to flow rapidly through the brain. (This doesn't occur at the same rate during waking hours.)  The dulling of memory skills often associated with aging may actually be related to a lack of sleep.

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