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By C. Claiborne Ray Q. Do lizards dream like people do? A. Some species of lizards do have two sleep phases, one resembling the dreaming phase of human beings, other mammals and birds. In 2016, a study of the central bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps, found slow-wave and rapid-eye-movement states that cycled back and forth in 80-second increments over sleep periods of six to 10 hours. In other animals, slow-wave sleep is usually described as deep, dreamless sleep, while rapid eye movements are linked to shallower sleep and dreaming. Recently scientists in France collected data on brain activity, heart rates and behavioral patterns, including eye movement, in the sleeping Argentine black-and-white tegu (Salvator merianae). The scientists also documented two sleep states, suggesting that the animals do experience something like R.E.M. sleep. In both studies, the researchers suggested that dreaming may have originated with a common ancestor of mammals, birds and lizards, rather than developing independently in various species. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25760 - Posted: 12.08.2018

By Nicholas Bakalar Getting enough sleep is healthful, but getting too much might not be. Researchers gathered health and lifestyle information, including self-reported sleep data, on 116,632 people in 21 countries. Over eight years of follow-up, they recorded 4,381 deaths and 4,365 major cardiovascular events. The study, in the European Heart Journal, found that compared with people who slept six to eight hours a night, those who slept eight to nine hours had a 5 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease or death. People who slept nine to 10 hours had a 17 percent increased risk, and those who slept more than 10 hours increased their risk by 41 percent. The researchers also found a 9 percent increased risk in people who slept less than six hours, but that difference was not statistically significant. Daytime naps also increased the risk for cardiovascular events, but only in people who slept more than six hours a night. The researchers controlled for age, body mass index, physical activity, diabetes, depression, smoking, alcohol consumption and many other health and behavioral characteristics. “Get enough sleep — that is, six to eight hours a day,” said the lead author, Chuangshi Wang, a doctoral student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “But if you sleep more than nine hours a day, you may want to visit a doctor to check your overall health.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25750 - Posted: 12.06.2018

By Austin Frakt If part of a hospital stay is to recover from a procedure or illness, why is it so hard to get any rest? There is more noise and light than is conducive for sleep. And nurses and others visit frequently to give medications, take vitals, draw blood or perform tests and checkups — in many cases waking patients to do so. Some monitoring is necessary, of course. Medication must be given; some vital signs do need to be checked. And frequent monitoring is warranted for some patients — such as those in intensive care units. But others are best left mostly alone. Yet many hospitals don’t distinguish between the two, disrupting everyone on a predefined schedule. Peter Ubel understands the problem as both a physician and patient. When he spent a night in the hospital recovering from surgery in 2013, he was interrupted multiple times by blood draws, vital sign checks, other lab tests, as well as by the beeping of machines. “Not an hour went by without some kind of disruption,” said Dr. Ubel, a physician with Duke University. “It’s a terrible way to start recovery.” It’s more than annoying — such disruptions can harm patients. Short sleep durations are associated with reduced immune function, delirium, hypertension and mood disorders. Hospital conditions, including sleep disruptions, may contribute to “posthospital syndrome” — the period of vulnerability to a host of health problems after hospitalization that are not related to the reason for that hospitalization. “In addressing a patient’s acute illness, we may inadvertently be causing harm by ignoring the important restorative powers of a healing environment,” said Harlan Krumholz, a Yale University physician who has been calling attention to posthospital syndrome for several years. “The key to a successful recovery after illness may be a less stressful, more supportive, more humane experience during the hospitalization.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25743 - Posted: 12.03.2018

Marshall Allen Last March, Tony Schmidt discovered something unsettling about the machine that helps him breathe at night. Without his knowledge, it was spying on him. From his bedside, the device was tracking when he was using it and sending the information not just to his doctor, but to the maker of the machine, to the medical supply company that provided it and to his health insurer. Schmidt, an information technology specialist from Carrollton, Texas, was shocked. "I had no idea they were sending my information across the wire." Schmidt, 59, has sleep apnea, a disorder that causes worrisome breaks in his breathing at night. Like millions of people, he relies on a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine that streams warm air into his nose while he sleeps, keeping his airway open. Without it, Schmidt would wake up hundreds of times a night; then, during the day, he'd nod off at work, sometimes while driving and even as he sat on the toilet. "I couldn't keep a job," he recalls. "I couldn't stay awake." The CPAP, he says, saved his career, maybe even his life. As many CPAP users discover, the life-altering device comes with caveats: Health insurance companies are often tracking whether patients use them. If they aren't, the insurers might not cover the machines or the supplies that go with them. And, faced with the popularity of CPAPs — which can cost $400 to $800 — and their need for replacement filters, face masks and hoses, health insurers have deployed a host of tactics that can make the therapy more expensive or even price it out of reach. Patients have been required to rent CPAPs at rates that total much more than the retail price of the devices, or they've discovered that the supplies would be substantially cheaper if they didn't have insurance at all. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25712 - Posted: 11.24.2018

By Perri Klass, M.D. More than 30 years ago, I went to a parent meeting at my oldest child’s day care center, when he was in the 2-year-old room, and it turned out that many of the children in the room were not reliably sleeping through the night. It felt like a revelation, discovering that mine was not the only child who occasionally — or regularly — woke in the night and needed some attention. In our family, we had come to terms with this, and we had managed to make — and generally keep — some rules: no food, no drink, no coming out of the crib, but yes, once a night one of your parents is willing to stagger down the hall, look in on you, rub your back and say something like, “We haven’t moved away and left you, now go back to sleep.” (Or maybe sometimes it was, “Go back to sleep or we will move away and leave you,” but that is lost in the mists of history.) It wasn’t ideal, but we were managing. In the current issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers describe a study of almost 400 mothers in Canada who were asked to report: “During the night, how many consecutive hours does your child sleep without waking up?” The researchers took six or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep as definitions of “sleeping through the night.” They found that at 6 months of age, 62.4 percent of mothers reported that their infants slept for 6 hours or more at a stretch, and only 43 percent of the mothers reported eight-hour blocks of consecutive sleep. At 12 months, 72.1 percent of the mothers reported six hours of consecutive sleep, and 56.6 percent reported eight hours; since all infants wake several times a night, those who were reported as sleeping consecutively presumably awoke and went back to sleep by themselves without the mothers knowing it. So by these criteria, a significant number of the babies were not “sleeping through the night” at 6 months, and even at 12 months. At some time points, girls were more likely to sleep for longer periods than boys, but at other times there was no significant difference. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25698 - Posted: 11.19.2018

Adriana Galván Healthy sleep leads to healthy brains. Neuroscientists have gotten that message out. But parents, doctors and educators alike have struggled to identify what to do to improve sleep. Some have called for delaying school start times or limiting screentime before bed to achieve academic, health and even economic gains. Still, recent estimates suggest that roughly half of adolescents in the United States are sleep-deprived. These numbers are alarming because sleep is particularly important during adolescence, a time of significant brain changes that affect learning, self-control and emotional systems. And sleep deficits are even greater in economically disadvantaged youth compared to more affluent counterparts. Research from my developmental neuroscience lab shows one solution to the sleep deprivation problem that is deceptively simple: provide teens with a good pillow. Because getting comfortable bedding does not involve technology, expensive interventions or lots of time, it may be particularly beneficial for improving sleep among underresourced adolescents. Studies in my lab have shown that seemingly small differences in the quality and duration of sleep make a difference in how the brain processes information. Sleep acts like a glue that helps the brain encode recently learned information into long-term knowledge. It also improves focus in school because sleep helps dampen hyperactive behavior, strong emotional reactions and squirminess. This means that students who are normally dismissed from the classroom for disruptive behavior are more likely to stay in class if they’re not sleep-deprived. More time in the class leads to more learning. © 2010–2018, The Conversation US, Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25681 - Posted: 11.14.2018

David DiSalvo Research findings suggesting that sleep loss and anxiety are closely linked were among those presented at Neuroscience 2018, the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience held in San Diego, California. The news isn’t all dire, however – this year’s event offered some science-based encouragement along with causes for concern. Neuroscience continues focusing on the mysteries of sleep (and yes, it’s still plenty mysterious despite its media ubiquity)—not only the perils of failing to get enough, but the list of vital roles it plays in our brains. Research discussed at this year’s event touched on a range of findings, from sleep's roles in memory consolidation to garbage removal in brain tissue. We’re learning via more studies each year that sleep, including well-placed naps, facilitates the brain’s consolidation of information—moving memory freight from short-term to long-term storage, and sharpening its accessibility for when we need it. Without sleep, memory simply doesn’t happen. We’ve also learned that sleep provides the brain with an invaluable period of transporting toxins out of neural tissue through a complex garbage-removal system. Operating separately from the body's lymphatic system, the brain’s trash-disposal apparatus seems dependent on sleep to function properly. Links between neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and the accumulation of toxins in brain tissue are exceptionally strong, and sleep loss is a likely culprit. A panel session at this year’s event called “Threats of Sleep Deprivation” highlighted new findings on the connection between sleep loss and anxiety. “Sleep deprivation isn’t what we usually think it is,” said session moderator Clifford Saper, MD, PhD of Harvard Medical School. It’s usually not “staying up 40 hours all at once,” but rather gradually losing sleep over time. ©2018 Forbes Media LLC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25680 - Posted: 11.14.2018

By Alice Robb One muggy Saturday last summer, I went on a date with a man who seemed entirely fine. We drank two beers and went for a walk, and he explained why he liked certain buildings that we passed. We kissed, and his breath tasted like cigarettes. We parted ways, and I couldn’t muster the energy to answer his emoji-laden follow-up texts about my weekend activities. The date was mediocre at best — but in the days that followed, I second-guessed my decision not to see him again. Maybe I had written him off too soon; maybe I should have given things a chance to develop. After all, he had some good qualities. He was handsome, tall, employed — and not, refreshingly, as a writer. It was only after a painfully on-the-nose dream a few weeks later that I stopped doubting my intuition. In the dream, I had agreed to a second date, and I had brought along two friends to observe our interactions and help me assess him. At the end of the group outing, my friends pulled me away and offered a unanimous decision: He wasn’t for me. I had made the right call. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have accepted the conventional wisdom: We shouldn’t dwell on our dreams. Even though research suggests that REM sleep — when most dreaming takes place — is crucial for mental and physical health, we think of dreams as silly little stories, the dandruff of the brain. We’re taught that talking about our dreams is juvenile, self-indulgent, and that we should shake off their traces and get on with our day. It doesn’t have to be that way. For the past two years, a group of my friends has been gathering every month to talk about dreams; we do it for fun. Even if we resist, dreams have a way of sneaking into conscious territory and influencing our daytime mood. In three years of reporting on the science behind dreams, I’ve heard strangers describe flying, tooth loss, reunions with the dead — all the classics. I’ve seen that a dream can be a fascinating window into another person’s private life, and I’ve learned that paying attention to dreams can help us understand ourselves. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 25672 - Posted: 11.12.2018

By Annette Choi “I was facing my clothes rack where I have a bunch of stuff hanging off of it,” Brandon Tan says. “And since it was dark, my bags and jackets were kind of morphed into black figures.” Tan, a New York City-based writer, says that that night—with eyes wide-open and lips sealed—he struggled to move his own body. Quickly, nightmarish hallucinations began taking over his auditory and sensory perceptions, blurring the line between dream and reality. “I just kept hearing really mischievous giggling and really creepy screaming,” he says. “And it felt like there were really strong gusts of wind in my room, but the window was completely shut.” Jackie Monoson can sympathize. But unlike Tan, who is new to the experience of sleep paralysis, Monoson, a video editor living in New York City, says she has experienced it on and off for several years now, especially during times of high stress. She recalls one episode in particular, which occurred during finals week of her senior year at New York University: “I felt like as I was falling asleep, I was also waking up,” she says. “I was in my dorm, and I knew that my roommate was in the room, but I couldn’t yell out.” Not long after her first few encounters, Monoson turned to the internet for help. Per the advice of an online sleep paralysis forum, during episodes, Monoson learned to focus on moving smaller muscles—like wiggling her toes—to break from the feeling of paralysis. Sleep paralysis affects millions every year, and studies estimate that more than half of the global population will experience at least one episode in their lifetimes. Despite the prevalence, however, the disorder is poorly understood. © 1996–2018 WGBH Educational Foundation

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25671 - Posted: 11.12.2018

Laura Sanders SAN DIEGO — A sleepless night can leave the brain spinning with anxiety the next day. In healthy adults, overnight sleep deprivation triggered anxiety the next morning, along with altered brain activity patterns, scientists reported November 4 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. People with anxiety disorders often have trouble sleeping. The new results uncover the reverse effect — that poor sleep can induce anxiety. The study shows that “this is a two-way interaction,” says Clifford Saper, a sleep researcher at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study. “The sleep loss makes the anxiety worse, which in turn makes it harder to sleep.” Sleep researchers Eti Ben Simon and Matthew Walker, both of the University of California, Berkeley, studied the anxiety levels of 18 healthy people. Following either a night of sleep or a night of staying awake, these people took anxiety tests next morning. After sleep deprivation, anxiety levels in these healthy people were 30 percent higher than when they had slept. On average, the anxiety scores reached levels seen in people with anxiety disorders, Ben Simon said November 5 in a news briefing. What’s more, sleep-deprived people’s brain activity changed. In response to emotional videos, brain areas involved in emotions were more active, and the prefrontal cortex, an area that can put the brakes on anxiety, was less active, functional MRI scans showed. The results suggest that poor sleep “is more than just a symptom” of anxiety, but in some cases, may be a cause, Ben Simon said. Citations E. Ben Simon and M.P. Walker. Underslept and overanxious: The neural correlates of sleep loss-induced anxiety in the human brain. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, November 4, 2018. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25651 - Posted: 11.07.2018

by Hannah Devlin, Science correspondent “The only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness,” the Harvard sleep scientist Dr J Allan Hobson once joked. This isn’t quite true, but the questions of why we spend about a third of our lives asleep and what goes on in our head during this time are far from being solved. One big mystery is why sleep emerged as an evolutionary strategy. It must confer powerful benefits to balance out the substantial risks, such as being eaten or missing out on food while lying dormant. The emerging picture from research is that sleep is not a luxury but essential to both physical and mental health. But the complex and diverse functions of sleep are only just starting to be uncovered. What’s going on in our brains while we sleep? The brain doesn’t just switch off. It generates two main types of sleep: slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS – and rapid eye movement (dreaming), or REM. About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, which is characterised by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing. There is strong evidence that deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories, with recent experiences being transferred to long-term storage. This doesn’t happen indiscriminately though – a clearout of the less relevant experiences of the preceding day also appears to take place. A study published last year revealed that the connections between neurons, known as synapses, shrink during sleep, resulting in the weakest connections being pruned away and those experiences forgotten. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25551 - Posted: 10.09.2018

Rhitu Chatterjee Paige Thesing has struggled with insomnia since high school. "It takes me a really long time to fall asleep — about four hours," she says. For years, her mornings were groggy and involved a "lot of coffee." After a year of trying sleep medication prescribed by her doctor, she turned to the internet for alternate solutions. About four months ago, she settled on a mobile phone meditation app called INSCAPE. "It's about a 30-minute soundtrack, and it starts with a woman kind of telling you to relax and instructing your breathing," explains Thesing. "Then it goes into sounds — relaxing noises. There's wind chimes, some atmospheric music playing..." She uses the app every night and falls asleep within 15 or 20 minutes. "So, definitely a big improvement from four hours," she says. Thesing is not alone. Chronic insomnia affects an estimated 10-15 percent of adults, and another 25-35 percent struggle with sleep issues occasionally. And like Thesing, a growing number of insomniacs are turning to mobile phone apps to lull them to sleep. On Twitter and Facebook, NPR asked its audience if they have used a mobile phone app to help manage insomnia. Nearly 100 people wrote back suggesting a range of apps, including podcasts created to put a listener to sleep. "These are usually relaxation strategies, white noise, meditation," Jason Ong, an associate professor of neurology specializing in sleep at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He studies non-pharmacological treatments for various sleep disorders and treats patients at the university's Sleep Medicine clinic. "It's not that there's something wrong with those apps. It's a reasonable first thing to try." © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25540 - Posted: 10.08.2018

April Fulton Within three days of starting high school this year, my ninth-grader could not get into bed before 11 p.m. or wake up by 6 a.m. He complained he couldn't fall asleep but felt foggy during the school day and had to reread lessons a few times at night to finish his homework. And forget morning activities on the weekends — he was in bed. We're not the only family struggling to get restful shut-eye. "What parents are sharing with us is that the 'normal life' of a typical American high schooler is interfering with sleep," says Sarah Clark, co-director of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan. In the poll of 2,000 parents from various ethnic groups and backgrounds that Clark and her team published this month, 1 in 6 parents say their teen experiences frequent sleep problems — "having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep 3 or more nights per week." More than half the parents say it's because their teens won't get off their electronic devices, and 43 percent blame irregular schedules with homework and activities. A significant percentage of parents say their kids worry about school (31 percent), and 23 percent say their teens stay up worrying about their social lives. It's likely that the numbers of teens who have trouble sleeping is even higher than the poll of parents suggests, Clark says, because kids can hide their nighttime electronics use and parents may not frequently check in on older children. How can parents help? Start with knowing what kids need. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25493 - Posted: 09.26.2018

By Meredith Wadman During decades of lab experiments and dozens of clinical trials, scientists have searched in vain for drugs to defeat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the risky and increasingly prevalent condition in which a person’s upper airway repeatedly collapses during sleep, causing them to briefly stop breathing, dozens or hundreds of times each night. Now a new drug combination has reawakened hopes. A team led by researchers in Boston has identified a pair of medications--approved for other uses and with solid safety records--that appear to work in concert during sleep to activate the muscles that dilate the upper airway. In a study of 20 patients, the scientists found that a combination of atomoxetine and oxybutynin, taken as two pills at bedtime, reduced patients’ frequency of airway obstruction – called the apnea-hypopnea index, or AHI -- from a median of 28.5 hourly obstructions on placebo to 7.5 on the pills. In the 15 patients with the highest AHI’s, the median reduction was 74% -- and every patient experienced at least a 50% reduction, Andrew Wellman and Luigi Taranto-Montemurro at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, reported this week today at the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society in Paris, France. Patients’ blood oxygenation also improved strikingly, the group found. “We’ve never had a drug combination, or any sort of a drug, that consistently improved everybody’s AHI. That’s actually unbelievably exciting,” says Sigrid Veasey of the University of Pennsylvania, a physician-researcher who studies sleep. It’s “a great first step,” adds Martina Mason, a sleep physician at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom, who coauthored a 2013 review of 30 previous, underwhelming drug trials. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25460 - Posted: 09.17.2018

By Nicholas Bakalar New research has found that obstructive sleep apnea — a disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep — is associated with an increased risk for gout, a common cause of painful arthritis. Scientists studied 15,879 patients with apnea and 63,296 matched controls without, following them for an average of almost six years. Over that time, 4.9 percent of people with apnea developed gout, compared with 2.6 percent of those without the disorder. Both disorders are associated with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions, but after controlling for these and other factors the independent association of apnea with gout was still evident. The study is in Arthritis & Rheumatology. The mechanism is unclear, but reduced oxygen supply during sleep encourages the production of uric acid, and the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints is what causes the inflammation and pain of gout. Apnea can be treated with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, in which the patient wears a mask at night to allow easier breathing. There are drugs and diet restrictions used to treat gout. The lead author, Milica Blagojevic-Bucknall, a lecturer at Keele University in England, said that this observational study does not prove cause and effect. Still, she added, “It’s possible that people who use CPAP could reduce the risk or severity of gout.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25438 - Posted: 09.12.2018

By Frankie Schembri The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has awarded its three annual prizes, regarded as the United States’s most prestigious biomedical research awards, to four researchers in fields including genetics and anesthetic drug development. The Laskers often precede a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Since the awards were founded in 1945, 87 Lasker laureates have later gotten the call from Stockholm. The basic research prize is shared by Michael Grunstein of the University of California, Los Angeles, and C. David Allis of The Rockefeller University in New York City, who investigated the histone, once considered to be inert packing material for DNA. It is now recognized as an essential component in gene regulation. Joan Argetsinger Steitz of Yale University won the special prize for her discoveries in RNA biology, as well as her work in mentoring and advocating for women in science. John “Iain” Glen, a Scottish veterinary-anesthesiologist now retired from AstraZeneca, the biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, U.K., won the clinical award for development of propofol. One of the most widely used drugs for inducing anesthesia, propofol is administered some 60 million times per year in the United States. The laureates will receive their prizes and honorariums of $250,000 for each category at a ceremony in New York City on 21 September. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25436 - Posted: 09.11.2018

By Susana Martinez-Conde Last month, for the first time in over a year, I had lucid dreams for two nights in a row. A lucid dream, or realizing that you’re dreaming while still inside of the dream, is not an unusual experience: most people will have at least one lucid dream in their lives. An occasional lucid dreamer myself, I’ve never developed the degree of control that some master lucid dreamers have, who can bend, Matrix-like, the fabric of their dreams to their will, night after night. Instead, my own version of lucid dreaming tends to consist on being in the midst of some horrifying nightmare, then having the thought that “this is just too awful to be real, so I must be dreaming,” and eventually grasping that that’s indeed the case. When that happens, I typically use my newfound awareness to wake myself up at once and be done with the whole thing. But in these two recent instances, I had an altogether different experience. Critically, I figured out that I was dreaming while having a neutral sort of dream, so I wasn’t compelled to seek an immediate exit. So my understanding of my unusual situation was a lot more matter-of-fact than in the majority of my prior lucid dreaming episodes. On each consecutive occasion, I immediately decided on flying. I had had dreams of flight before, but never intentionally. Now I could soar with purpose. I ascended at vertiginous speeds over the Manhattan skyline, and as soon as the clouds enveloped me I dove down, superhero-style, unafraid of gravity. Rising up again, I darted around buildings and billboards with ballistic accuracy. I briefly joined a flock of birds, then left them behind. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25430 - Posted: 09.10.2018

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent Lack of sleep has long been linked to obesity, but a new study suggests late night snacking may not be the primary culprit. The latest findings provide the most compelling evidence to date that disrupted sleep alters the metabolism and boosts the body’s ability to store fat. The findings add to mounting scientific evidence on how disrupted sleep influences the usual rhythms of the body clock, raising the risk of a wide range of health problems from heart disease to diabetes. Jonathan Cedernaes, a circadian researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden and the paper’s first author, said the findings pointed to “the irreplaceable function that sleep has”. “Sleep is not just to conserve energy, it has so many functions,” he said. Time and again research has linked shift work and lack of sleep to the risk of obesity and diabetes, but the reasons behind this association are complex and have been difficult to elucidate. Insufficient sleep appears to disrupt hormones that control appetite and feelings of fullness. Those who sleep less have more time to eat, may be too tired to exercise and have less self-control when it comes to resisting the temptation of unhealthy snacks. A previous study by Cedernaes and colleagues showed that even a short period of sleep deprivation led people to eat more and opt for higher calorie food. To complicate matters further, obesity increases the risk of sleep apnoea, a breathing problem that itself disturbs sleep quality. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25365 - Posted: 08.23.2018

By Bilal Choudhry Inadequate sleep causes more than $400 billion in economic losses annually in the United States and results in 1.23 million lost days of work each year, researchers have found. The impact of chronic sleeplessness in the United States far exceeds the costs in other industrialized countries. The runner-up, Japan, loses as much as $138 billion annually to sleeplessness among workers, but that represents a greater share of its economy, researchers at the RAND Corporation found. The number of individuals who sleep less than the recommended hours is increasing in the developed world. From 20 to 30 percent of these workers complain of a lack of sleep on a daily basis. “Inadequate sleep is too easily accepted into the community as part of life,” said Dr. David Hillman, a clinical professor at the University of Western Australia who studies sleep deficiency. In many work settings, “sleep is an indulgence.” On a less quantifiable level, inadequate sleep reduces the safety and productivity of workers. Researchers have linked such shattering events as the Challenger space shuttle accident to human error caused by a lack of sleep. “It’s a huge problem that translates into enormous costs,” said Dr. Hillman. “And it’s a call to not only mitigate the suffering, but also to mitigate the costs.” As the work force becomes more competitive, he said, employers must acknowledge inadequate sleep as a threat to company productivity. Well-rested employees are more efficient, tend to be healthier and feel more content. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 25357 - Posted: 08.21.2018

By Jane E. Brody Attention all you happy high school graduates about to go off to college, as well as the many others returning for another year of higher education. Grandsons Stefan and Tomas, that includes you. Whatever you may think can get in the way of a successful college experience, chances are you won’t think of one of the most important factors: how long and how well you sleep. And not just on weekends, but every day, Monday through Sunday. Studies have shown that sleep quantity and sleep quality equal or outrank such popular campus concerns as alcohol and drug use in predicting student grades and a student’s chances of graduating. Although in one survey 60 percent of students said they wanted information from their colleges on how to manage sleep problems, few institutions of higher learning do anything to counter the devastating effects of sleep deprivation on academic success and physical and emotional well-being. Some, in fact, do just the opposite, for example, providing 24-hour library hours that encourage students to pull all-nighters. (I did that only once, to study for an exam in freshman year, and fell asleep in the middle of the test. Lesson well learned!) An all-nighter may help if all you have to do is memorize a list, but if you have to do something complex with the information, you’ll do worse by staying up all night, J. Roxanne Prichard, an expert on college sleep issues, told me. After being awake 16 hours in a row, brain function starts to decline, and after 20 hours awake, you perform as if legally drunk, she said. Many college-bound kids start out with dreadful sleep habits that are likely to get worse once the rigorous demands of college courses and competing social and athletic activities kick in. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25324 - Posted: 08.13.2018