The brain may start 'eating' itself if you don't sleep enough! -
The brain may start 'eating' itself if you don't sleep enough!
Posted 27 May 2017 05:17 PM

In present times, when a modern lifestyle has won the world's preference, sleep is hard to come by and an appropriate amount of it is of huge essence.

Sleep is considered to be one of the best paths to recovery and is meant to be healing, whereas the lack of it can negatively impact your health.

In such a fast-paced world and life, even a few hours of sleep feels like a blessing. But, among multiple complaints of insomnia, lack of sleep, sleep deprivation, disturbed sleep, etc, finding someone who does get the requisite amount of sleep is like searching for a needle in a pile of hay.

Exhaustion and fatigue, for which we somehow always blame lack of sleep, can also have another explanation – lack of brain capacity.

That's right! A new study has found that the reason behind your sluggishness could be chronic sleep deprivation, which could result in the brain feeding on itself.

This undoubtedly may sound highly twisted, but the study conducted on mice showed that sleep deprivation can cause parts of the brain's synapses to be 'eaten' by other brain cells.

As per a report in News Nation, the brains of mice that had consistent sleep, spontaneous wake, sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation, were examined. Block-face scanningsoftware was used by the scientists in order to measure the synapses and cell processes in the mouse's frontal cortex. According to the researchers, the mice that were deprived of sleep showed more activity with the cells called astrocytes.

According to the study, astrocytes start breaking down more of the brain refuse.

“We show for the first time that portions of synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss,” research leader Michele Bellesi told New Scientist.

However, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as most of the synapses affected were larger and more mature: “They are like old pieces of furniture, and so probably need more attention and cleaning,” said Bellesi.

What was more concerning was the discovery of how 'microglial' brain cells, which seek out damaged cells and debris, were also more active in brain experiencing chronic sleep deprivation.

“We already know that sustained microglial activation has been observed in Alzheimer’s and other forms of neurodegeneration,” Bellesi said.

Previous research has found that chronic sleep deprivation increases so-called plaques in the brain thought to be a main cause of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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