To the brain, sleep deprivation is 'like drinking too much'

07 November, 2017, 21:11 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Brain cells called neurons were found to fire more weakly and take longer to respond in a study of 12 people kept awake all night

But despite the small size its authors believe it can tell us important details about the effect of sleep deprivation on the functioning of brain cells.

But the lack of sleep caused the neurons to respond sluggishly, the study published in Nature Medicine found.

A new study is explaining how much of an effect losing sleep has on human brain cells. Patients then had to identify images as fast as possible while the implants recorded brain activity. The study noted that the major and most risky effects on brain cells can be seen in sleep-deprived drivers.

As the patient's progress slowed down, so too did their neurons under the hood, the team reports.

As the subjects grew sleepier, the electrodes in their brains fired off slower - especially in the temporal lobe, which regulates visual perception and memory.

These findings could help explain why lack of sleep hinders a lot of mental functions, according to Itzhak Fried, rofessor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles and author on the study.

Four of the patients stayed up all night before looking at some more images.

The study, lead by Dr Itzhak Fried from the University of California, found that parts of the brain can shut themselves off in people who are particularly exhausted - leading people to struggle to connect visual information with conscious thought. Thus, nedospaty the man behind the wheel of a vehicle may simply not notice the pedestrian in front.

"We found that neuronal lapses co-occurred with slow brain waves in the same regions", Nir said. "It takes longer for his brain to register what he's perceiving", Dr.

The researchers also discovered that slower brain waves accompanied sluggish cellular activity in the temporal lobe and other parts of the brain. He believes that there should be legal and medical standards in place to identify worn out drivers on the road.

Dr Nir added: 'The very act of seeing the pedestrian slows down in the driver's overtired brain.

The results showed that performing the task grew more challenging the longer the patients had been awake. Fried. "This phenomenon suggests that select regions of the patients' brains were dozing, causing mental lapses, while the rest of the brain was awake and running as usual".

Not only does it affect your ability to drive, sleep deprivation has also been linked to diabetes, obesity and depression.

Fried and his colleagues plan to dive more deeply into the benefits of sleep.

The research was supported by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the Israel Science Foundation, among others.