Posted By Administration,
Monday, February 10, 2020
Through research over the last two decades, the impact of sleep on brain, immune, cardiovascular and hormonal functions has become increasingly apparent.
A recent study from the University of Rochester Medical Center(URMC) has connected sleep deprivation with inefficiency of the glymphatic system, meaning the body can't properly wash away waste and toxic proteins.
"Because the accumulation of toxic proteins such as beta amyloid and tau in the brain are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have speculated that impairment of the glymphatic system due to disrupted sleep could be a driver of the disease," the article says.
Another novel study from URMC linked sleep and microglia cells, which play a role in connections between nerve cells, fighting infections and repairing damage. The study indicates that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system on and off.
"This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain," said Rianne Stowell, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at URMC and first author of the paper.
Sleep has also been linked to the proper function of T cells as part of the body's immune response, hormones that influence glucose regulation and appetite control and play a role in obesity, and atherosclerosis of the cardiovascular system.
Findings suggest that sleep therapy or other methods to boost quality of sleep for at-risk populations may be a potential clinical approach for treatment, a topic that will be discussed in detail at the 2020 Collaboration Cures meeting this November.