New study suggests sleep loss causes brain damage

By Rebecca Walezak,

A new study suggests that not enough sleep could cause damage to your brain.

According to The BBC, the study kept track of how mice reacted to being forced to stay awake over night and not getting much sleep. The mice got an occasional nap, but would then be woken up for an undetermined amount of time.

After several days of the study, the team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that the mice lost about 25 percent of their brain cells in part of the stem. Specifically, researchers found damage in the part of the brain that deals with alertness and reaction time, or the locus coeruleus.

In relation, humans have the potential to also lose brain cells if they are not getting enough sleep. More research needs to be done to determine how much permanent damage humans are at risk of.

CNN reports that researchers hope to use their studies to develop some type of medication over the next few years to assist with the effects of lack of sleep.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Public domain via Released under the GFDL by en:User:TheBrain on 20 May 2003 Wikimedia Commons

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