Brainwashed?!

This past week, researchers at the University of Rochester released study results indicating that while the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins. This study was conducted in mice; however, the implications are that this cleansing process may actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in adults.

The flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases quite dramatically during sleep. This increase in flow helps wash away the waste proteins that build up between brain cells. Scientists discovered that when mice went to sleep, their brain cells shrank, making it easier for fluid to circulate. Upon waking, the brain cells enlarged again and the flow between cells slowed to a trickle. Dr. Nedergaard, an author of the study, said it was like opening and closing a faucet; that the differences between sleep and wake were that dramatic.

This process during slumber is important, because the waste proteins getting washed away are toxic to brain cells. It could explain why prolonged lack of sleep can cause problems with brain functioning, like attention and memory. This process also takes a lot of energy, which is why it happens most efficiently while we sleep.

Even though this brain-cleaning process has only been observed in rats and baboons, it could offer a new way to understand human brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. One of the waste products removed during sleep is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.

These findings are yet another reminder that good sleep is important and vital to our health. In addition, Brainjogging can also play a role in better brain health. Children are not the only clients to benefit from Brainjogging! Older adults, who have been experiencing memory loss and foggy attention, come to Camp Academia for help. Instead of spelling words and mathematical formulas, individualized Brainjogging word lists include family names, addresses, favorite poems, literary passages and hobby-related vocabulary. It still takes just 5-7 minutes twice daily to make a noticeable difference in more reliable brain functioning!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Leave a Reply