Wired: Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Out Brain Toxins

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Wired: Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Out Brain Toxins

Post by Portreve » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:17 am

Wired.com: Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From The Brain
What she discovered was that during non-REM sleep, large, slow waves of cerebrospinal fluid were washing over the brain. The EEG readings helped show why. During non-REM sleep, neurons start to synchronize, turning on and off at the same time. “First you would see this electrical wave where all the neurons would go quiet,” says Lewis. Because the neurons had all momentarily stopped firing, they didn’t need as much oxygen. That meant less blood would flow to the brain. But Lewis’s team also observed that cerebrospinal fluid would then rush in, filling in the space left behind.

“It’s a fantastic paper,” says Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester who led the 2013 study that first described how sleep can clear out toxins in mice. “I don’t think anybody in their wildest fantasy has really shown that the brain’s electrical activity is moving fluid. So that’s really exciting.”

One big contribution of the paper is it helps show that the systems Nedergaard has been studying in mice are present and hugely important for humans too. “It’s telling you sleep is not just to relax,” says Nedergaard. “Sleep is actually a very distinct function.” Neurons don't all turn off at the same time when we're awake. So brain blood levels don't drop enough to allow substantial waves of cerebrospinal fluid to circulate around the brain and clear out all the metabolic byproducts that accumulate, like beta amyloid.

The study also could have clinical applications for treating Alzheimer’s. Recent attempts at developing medications have targeted beta amyloid. But drugs that looked promising at first all failed once they got into clinical trials. “This opens a new avenue,” says Nedergaard. Instead of trying to act on one particular molecule, new interventions might instead focus on increasing the amount of cerebrospinal fluid that washes over the brain.
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Re: Wired: Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Out Brain Toxins

Post by lsemmens » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:47 pm

WOW! Wife has various issues with her Crainal Cavity - (hydrocephalus) and so We have been interested in neurology and neurological function for years. This might go some way to explaining some, otherwise, unexplained problems in some people. Probably won't help us, but! Thanks for sharing that.
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