Brain Waves at Night: The Key to Preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?

Brain Connections Network Concept Illustration

Scientists have discovered that the brain’s activity during sleep, particularly the generation of rhythmic brain waves, is crucial for flushing out waste. This process could offer new strategies for preventing neurodegenerative diseases and improving sleep efficiency, potentially reducing the necessity for long sleep durations.

Findings could pave the way for innovative strategies to tackle Alzheimer’s and various other neurological disorders.

There lies a paradox in sleep. Its apparent tranquility juxtaposes with the brain’s bustling activity. The night is still, but the brain is far from dormant. During sleep, brain cells produce bursts of electrical pulses that cumulate into rhythmic waves – a sign of heightened brain cell function.

But why is the brain active when we are resting?

Slow brain waves are associated with restful, refreshing sleep. And now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that brain waves help flush waste out of the brain during sleep. Individual nerve cells coordinate to produce rhythmic waves that propel fluid through dense brain tissue, washing the tissue in the process.

“These neurons are miniature pumps. Synchronized neural activity powers fluid flow and removal of debris from the brain,” explained first author Li-Feng Jiang-Xie, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pathology & Immunology. “If we can build on this process, there is the possibility of delaying or even preventing neurological diseases, including DOI: 10.1038/s41586-024-07108-6

The study was funded by the Adblock test (Why?)

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