Sleep — Brain’s Toilet Time

June 11, 2015

picassoOvercast once again this early Thursday here along California’s north coast, in a quiet, predawn dark — looks about the same as yesterday, fog-filled until it’s burnt away, sometimes not before late afternoon, and sometimes not at all.
Summer along the shoreline…

Due to my own sleep troubles/problems, I’m always on the lookout for shit relating to screwed-up shut-eye — in a post yesterday, it was how ‘the brain shrinks over the course of the day, ending up smaller in the evening — before returning to its full size the next morning,’ refilled while you slept via fluids.
So this morning, a new study on how ‘sleep also cleans the brain like a plumbing system,’ and if sleep deprived, you’re going to get clogged — and that ain’t pretty.

‘Toxic wastes,’ which could lead to Alzheimer’s.

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Self Portrait Facing Death‘ (June 30, 1972), was originally found here).

Details via Quartz:

Previously, scientists thought the brain only cleaned itself by trickling toxins through brain tissues, but researchers now believe wastes are forcefully pushed through the brain at a much faster and higher pace, according to Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicin at the University of Rochester Medical Center School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Nedergaard dubbed this liquid cleaning system “the glymphatic system,” derived from the lymph system, which filters toxic waste products out of the body.
The waste products that are filtered through the brain prevent neurological illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Nedergaard’s research was followed up by a 2013 study which found “hidden caves” open up in the brain while we sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flush neurotoxins through the spinal column in copious amounts.
Basically, the cerebrospinal fluid sits around your brain and spinal cord and “every six to eight hour period, filters through the brain while you’re asleep,” Tara Swart, a senior lecturer at MIT specializing in sleep and the brain, told Quartz.
“The whole process takes six to eight hours.”
Much more important than your average cleaning system, this process clears neurotoxins out of your brain, specifically one called beta-amyloid, which has been found in clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
When this system can’t function properly due to lack of sleep, harmful remnants, like beta-amyloid, are allowed to build up.

And this beta-amyloid is also a back-biting bitch, creates a ‘vicious cycle’ of more insomnia: ‘As Matthew Walker, one of the neuroscientists who authored the study, wrote: “The more beta-amyloid you have in certain parts of your brain, the less deep sleep you get and, consequently, the worse your memory. Additionally, the less deep sleep you have, the less effective you are at clearing out this bad protein.”

Way-too early for this shit…

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