Top Leaderboard, Site wide
July 30, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates








Truthdig Bazaar
The Making of Global Capitalism

The Making of Global Capitalism

By Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch
$29.95

more items

 
Ear to the Ground

Do We Sleep to Clean Our Brains?

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Oct 18, 2013
anieto2k (CC BY 2.0)

American scientists think they’ve discovered the function of sleep: to clear molecular buildup in the brain in what Guardian science reporter Ian Sample calls a “rubbish disposal service.”

Experiments on mice showed that during sleep, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped throughout the brain and flushes out waste products to the liver.

“The process helps to remove the molecular detritus that brain cells churn out as part of their natural activity, along with toxic proteins that can lead to dementia when they build up in the brain, the researchers say,” Sample reported.

Other researchers said more more work needs to be done to determine if the same process occurs in humans and whether creating an opportunity to clean the brain was sleep’s primary function.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Ian Sample at The Guardian:

Maiken Nedergaard, who led the study at the University of Rochester, said the discovery might explain why sleep is crucial for all living organisms. “I think we have discovered why we sleep,” Nedergaard said. “We sleep to clean our brains.”

Writing in the journal Science, Nedergaard describes how brain cells in mice shrank when they slept, making the space between them on average 60% greater. This made the cerebral spinal fluid in the animals’ brains flow ten times faster than when the mice were awake.

The scientists then checked how well mice cleared toxins from their brains by injecting traces of proteins that are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. These amyloid beta proteins were removed faster from the brains of sleeping mice, they found.

Read more

More Below the Ad

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.