Medicine

Sleep deprivation like alcohol

Sleep deprivation like alcohol

Researchers of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Tel Aviv University have proven this in their published study that appeared in the journal Nature Medicine online this Monday (6th of November 2017). This disrupted brain activity affects how one can effectively perform their tasks.

"We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly", Dr. Itzhak Fried said in UCLA's news release. Dr Nir suggested a situation where a pedestrian steps out in front of a driver: "The very act of seeing the pedestrian slows down in the driver's overtired brain".

The patients involved were firstly evaluated before the study to understand their body and mind for the objective of the study. These findings were found incidentally during the evaluation. Doctors can stop seizures by locating where in the brain they start, and then removing that part. As subjects grew tired, brain cells fired less. Some epilepsy patients develop seizures on sleep deprivation. The participants all had electrode implants in their brains, with the objective of registering where their seizures originate in the lead-up to surgery.

Further studies may be required to identify the precise mechanisms through which lack of sleep directly influences neuronal activity. As they were faced with an image, regions in their brains lit up as they processed the image.

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

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Participants were asked to stay up all night in order to trigger an epileptic episode before undergoing surgery. Now the researchers noted that the neurons had become sluggish and slower to respond to the images.

Results showed that a lack of sleep caused the neurons to respond to visual stimulus at a much slower place, while transmissions were found to drag on longer than normal.

Sleep deprivation disrupted the ability of cells in the brain to encode information and translate visual information into conscious thoughts. He said this affects the perception as well as memory. The study noted that the major and most risky effects on brain cells can be seen in sleep-deprived drivers. He claims that severe fatigue causes brain changes similar to the effects of alcohol consumption. He cited his own example as a neurosurgeon.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Human Frontier Science Program Organization, the Israel Science Foundation, the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, the Adelis Foundation and the French Operations Research and Decision Support Society.


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