[Lack Of Sleep] Kills Brain Cells, New Study Shows
If you’re burning the midnight oil, you may be burning out brain cells, too, new research shows.
A study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience found that staying awake too long destroys brain cells in mice, and may do the same in humans.
It’s the first study to show (if only in animals) that sleep loss can lead to irreversible brain cell
In collaboration with colleagues at Peking University, the researchers looked at the brains of mice subjected to sleep conditions similar to late night or shift work and found that disrupted circadian rhythms resulted in degeneration of LC brain cells and ultimately apoptosis, or cell death.
The researchers limited the test mice to four to five hours of sleep over each 24-hour time period. After just three days of sleep deprivation the mice experienced a 25% loss of LCs in a particular section of the brain stem.
The study was done in mice, so further research is required before we’ll know if similar cell death occurs in humans. However, the researchers said, they planned to extend the results to humans by conducting autopsies to examine the brain cells of shift workers.
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