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Brain's Energy Restored During Sleep

I just read about this animal research study that concludes we need sleep. Duh! Where have you been all your life? The only problem found by the scientists, which seems to be a common problem for them on many issues, is there is 'not enough evidence' to make a definite conclusion that the brain is replenished and restored during sleep. They can't figure out the function of sleep even using their 'most sensitive measurements.' Are these people missing something upstairs? Is there a nut lose or the noodles all mushy.

These researchers from esteemed locations like Harvard and Boston VA quibble in their effort to find the 'how' it works. Does it not seem easy to simply 'accept' it works based upon personal experience? We go to sleep at night totally exhausted, wasted, drained, brain-drained, unable to keep eyes open or concentrate to read another word.

When we awake, our minds are clear, we are ready to face the day, to move, think, study, take care of others and so on. Do I need more to make an open declaration that our brains are replenished from sleep? Is there something else that provides this nourishment? Do we need a pill, a drug, a supplement? Has G-d provided darkness, lights out, cannot see any more to move around and thus, sleepy time is obvious to our senses.

Oops. I guess we need to learn a bit more about ATP and its pathways. I'm sure it will teach us something very important. Not knocking this. Just knowing that sleep heals. Sleep nourishes. Sleep is necessary. That's why your mom said, "Lights out, put the book away. It's bedtime."

Washington, DC — In the initial stages of sleep, energy levels increase dramatically in brain regions found to be active during waking hours, according to new research in the June 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. These results suggest that a surge of cellular energy may replenish brain processes needed to function normally while awake.

A good night's rest has clear restorative benefits, but evidence of the actual biological processes that occur during sleep has been elusive. Radhika Basheer, PhD, and Robert McCarley, MD, of Boston V.A. Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, proposed that brain energy levels are key to nightly restoration.

"Our finding bears on one of the perennial conundrums in biology: the function of sleep," Basheer said. "Somewhat surprisingly, there have been no modern-era studies of brain energy using the most sensitive measurements."

Levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, in rats increased in four key brain regions normally active during wakefulness. Shown here is the energy surge measured in the frontal cortex, a brain region associated with higher-level thinking.

This rat is not sleeping. It is dead. Run over in the street by a car because probably did not get enough sleep the night before and lost ability this think properly.

Levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, in rats increased in four key brain regions normally active during wakefulness. Shown here is the energy surge measured in the frontal cortex, a brain region associated with higher-level thinking.

The authors measured levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, in rats. They found that ATP levels in four key brain regions normally active during wakefulness increased when the rats were in non-REM sleep, but were accompanied by an overall decrease in brain activity. When the animals were awake, ATP levels were steady. When the rats were gently nudged to stay awake three or six hours past their normal sleep times, there was no increase in ATP.

The authors conclude that sleep is necessary for this ATP energy surge, as keeping the rats awake prevented the surge. The energy increase may then power restorative processes absent during wakefulness, because brain cells consume large amounts of energy just performing daily waking functions.

"This research provides intriguing evidence that a sleep-dependent energy surge is needed to facilitate the restorative biosynthetic processes," said Robert Greene, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern, a sleep expert who was unaffiliated with the study. He observed that questions arise from the findings, such as the specific cause of the ATP surge. "The authors propose that the surge is related to decreases in brain cell activity during sleep, but it may be due to many other factors as well, including cellular signaling in the brain," he said.

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Signing off. Does everyone have this music box? Must be universal.

Gulf War Veterans | Linda Chao, associate adjunct professor in the Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco said, "The surprising thing about this study is that it suggests poor sleep quality is associated with reduced gray matter volume throughout the entire frontal lobe and also globally in the brain."

Poor Decisions Without Proper Sleep | Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), UC Berkeley researchers scanned the brains of 23 healthy young adults, first after a normal night's sleep and next, after a sleepless night. They found impaired activity in the sleep-deprived brain's frontal lobe, which governs complex decision-making, but increased activity in deeper brain centers that respond to rewards. Moreover, the participants favored unhealthy snack and junk foods when they were sleep deprived. “getting enough sleep is one factor that can help promote weight control by priming the brain mechanisms governing appropriate food choices.” 

Lack Of Sleep and Anxiety Disorder| Neuroscientists have found that sleep deprivation amplifies anticipatory anxiety by firing up the brain’s amygdala and insular cortex, regions associated with emotional processing. The resulting pattern mimics the abnormal neural activity seen in anxiety disorders. Furthermore, their research suggests that innate worriers – those who are naturally more anxious and therefore more likely to develop a full-blown anxiety disorder – are acutely vulnerable to the impact of insufficient sleep. 

Sleep Deprived Loss Of Memory Capacity | UC Berkeley neuroscientists have found that the slow brain waves generated during the deep, restorative sleep we typically experience in youth play a key role in transporting memories from the hippocampus – which provides short-term storage for memories – to the prefrontal cortex’s longer term “hard drive.” However, in older adults, memories may be getting stuck in the hippocampus due to the poor quality of deep ‘slow wave’ sleep, and are then overwritten by new memories, the findings suggest. 

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Debby, good post. Sleep refreshes because it is soothing and calming. That is why all the military and spy agencies utilize this factor for depriving sleep to people whom they suspect of being a spy and by depriving them of sleep they extract the secrets that they may possess.


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