Lack Of Sleep Really Does Slow Brain Cells Down

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Sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in brain power according to a new study

Temporary mental lapses are now believed to occur when these cells struggle to translate visual information into conscious thought.

The team asked these patients to categorize a number of images as fast as they could.

"We discovered that starving the body of sleep robs neurons of the ability to function properly", said senior author Itzhak Fried, from UCLA and Tel Aviv University.

"This paves the way for cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us".

How was the study carried out? These participants-who were otherwise healthy adults-had eight to 12 electrodes implanted just below their skulls on the surface of their brains, created to monitor the origin of their seizures.

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It recorded almost 1,500 single brain cells, across the group, when the patients were asked to perform a task. The UCLA team reported that as people grew more exhausted, neurons in the brain that regulate visual perception and memory slowed down too. This area of the brain regulates visual perception and memory.

"We were fascinated to observe how sleep deprivation dampened brain cell activity", stated lead author Yuval Nir of Tel Aviv University.

"Unlike the usual rapid reaction", he says, "the neurons responded slowly, fired more weakly, and their transmissions dragged on longer than usual".

Science, as ever, comes to save my honor - this time, with a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain.

You may curse your memory when you lose your house keys for the umpteenth time or fail to find your vehicle after just half an hour in the supermarket. The study noted that the major and most risky effects on brain cells can be seen in sleep-deprived drivers. The driver's brain will take longer to register what they are seeing, resulting in a slower intended response of navigating to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

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When you don't get enough sleep, parts of your brain are going to take catnaps the next day, even while you're ostensibly up and awake, a new study suggests. "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", said Fried.

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

The investigation involved 12 people whose neurons in the brain was observed and thereby it was concluded that sleep deprivation can create electrical blasts and disrupt the electrical movement in the brain which actually leads to mental lapses.

When they were sleep-deprived, the participants had slower brain activity and completed the task less accurately.

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