Saturday, 19 October 2013

Story Saturday~ Spring Clean Your Brain

In our medical society, the first thing we are asked about is “have you seen anything to do with medicine in the news?” And usually, my answer is from now on, I am going to make a concerted effort to look at the BBC Health News page, and if I find anything exciting, I am going to write a post about, I give to you…”Story Saturday”. 

Basically, I’m going to try and keep a little bit more up to date with what's going on in the medical world. And hopefully, by writing a little bit about it, I will remember more, and learn more from it. And hopefully, you might learn a little bit too. I will post a little bit about an article I found quite interesting every Saturday; and lets hope I can remember what I wrote about by the time medsoc comes around!

When I opened up BBC Health News, the first article was about sleep. Scientists are claiming that when we sleep, our brain has a little tidy up of all of the toxins in there; all without us even aware it’s happening. And, get this, the more we think the more toxins that build up (they think). So when i’m sat in class, complaining that my brain hurts from too much thinking, it could actually be a viable statement!! I can imagine it now; “miss, I’ve been thinking too much. All the toxins are starting to poison me, I think I should go home *wink**wink*”.

It’s thought, that when we are asleep, our brain cells shrink a little bit, which makes the gaps in between neurons larger, allowing fluid to flush through, taking away the toxins. But we still aren’t 100% sure why we even need sleep- surely, sleeping leaves an animal open to be attacked by a predator (just to clarify, no i’m not referring to your little/big sister/brother as in my house :P)?

"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states - awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up," said researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard. "You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."

Some time last year, it was discovered that we have a type of lymphatic system in the brain, like we do throughout the rest of the body, known as glymphatic system. This is what is believed to allow the fluid to flush through the neurons, and have a little spring clean. In mice, these cleaning pipes became nearly 10 times more active when they were having a snooze. So basically, the more we sleep the better!! People have always said that there must be a reason teenagers have such a hard time waking up in the morning- maybe this is that reason! We think so much more than the rest of the population, our brains need to have a deeper clean, so we have to sleep longer? Well, that's going to be my argument for oversleeping from now on!

Anywho, here is the link for the full article if you want to have a read. (The whole time i was writing this, all i could imagine was a mouse wrapped up in a blankey with a teddy, so i found one on Google. Enjoy!)

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

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