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Dear ALL, The following fascinating article appeared in a University of Rochester publication this morning: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/5508/not-all-sleep-is-equal-when-it-comes-to-cleaning-the-brain.aspx It describes the cleansing of the brain of debris by cerebral spinal fluid during slow wave sleep, discovered previously at UR; and notes that, during surgery, especially on older adults, it's important to use the appropriate anaesthetics, ketamine and xylazine, so that the glymphatic system should work as it usually works during deep slow wave sleep, to clear the brain. (The wrong anaesthetics can allow plaques to accumulate. Clinical examples are given. An obvious observation, not mentioned in the article (for obvious reasons): Might it be conceivably eventually a method of helping people having difficulty achieving slow wave sleep, to be take (orally take or inject ?) these two anaesthetics in (who knows what ?) quantity before bed to achieve better quality sleep? (I don't recommend experimenting with this on yourselves; but it would be fascinating if some qualified sleep researcher managed to start a clinical study of this possible method of improving sleep quality on patients at risk of Alzheimers. Probably would be VERY hard to get FDA approval). -- Saul
Michael R posted a topic in General Health and LongevityI keep meaning to a proper post on this, but have finally been stimulated to do something rather than continue to postpone a really thorough one. The Dreem headband is an amazing device, both for the quality of its sleep tracking and for its function of enhancing slow-wave sleep; there's a ton of science on this kind of closed-loop auditory entrainment tech using systems built for experimental use by scientists that are not available as consumer devices, and some reports on the Dreem specifically: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00088/full (This one actually on the Dreem). https://dreem.com/assets/files/White_Paper_DREEM.pdf (This also on the Dreem, with additional unpublished data from their studies of users in the field). http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2014.00208 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2013.819384 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsx003 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02170-3 http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/17/6630 http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(13)00230-4 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnsys.2014.00208/full PMIDs 25389394 28337134 (Some of the above links and PMIDs are probably redundant to eahc other; my apologies). Slow-wave sleeep appears to be particularly important for clearing out beta-amyloid at night, although the route and mechanism continues to be debated.
In Wine, There’s Health: Low Levels of Alcohol Good for the Brain Friday, February 02, 2018 Pouring wine While a couple of glasses of wine can help clear the mind after a busy day, new research shows that it may actually help clean the mind as well. The new study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that low levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and helps the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease. “Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study. “However, in this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.” The finding adds to a growing body of research that point to the health benefits of low doses of alcohol. While excessive consumption of alcohol is a well-documented health hazard, many studies have linked lower levels of drinking with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as a number of cancers. Nedergaard’s research focuses on the glymphatic system, the brain’s unique cleaning process that was first described by Nedergaard and her colleagues in 2012. They showed how cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is pumped into brain tissue and flushes away waste, including the proteins beta amyloid and tau that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Subsequent research has shown that the glymphatic system is more active while we sleep, can be damaged by stroke and trauma, and improves with exercise. The new study, which was conducted in mice, looked at the impact of both acute and chronic alcohol exposure. When they studied the brains of animals exposed to high levels of alcohol over a long period of time, the researchers observed high levels of a molecular marker for inflammation, particularly in cells called astrocytes which are key regulators of the glymphatic system. They also noted impairment of the animal’s cognitive abilities and motor skills. Animals that were exposed to low levels of alcohol consumption, analogous to approximately 2 ½ drinks per day, actually showed less inflammation in the brain and their glymphatic system was more efficient in moving CSF through the brain and removing waste, compared to control mice who were not exposed to alcohol. The low dose animals’ performance in the cognitive and motor tests was identical to the controls. “The data on the effects of alcohol on the glymphatic system seemingly matches the J-shaped model relating to the dose effects of alcohol on general health and mortality, whereby low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health” said Nedergaard. “Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline. This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.” Additional co-authors include Iben Lundgaard, Wei Wang, Allison Eberhardt, Hanna Vinitsky, Benjamin Reeves, Sisi Peng, Nanhong Lou, and Rashid Hussein with URMC. Nedergaard maintains research labs at both URMC and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The study was funding with support from the Department of Navy’s Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute on Aging.