Scientists Lior Appelbaum and David Zada in Israel publish new proof that sleep serves to help our brains repair damage.
Their study, published in the journal Nature, used genetically engineering transparent zebrafish with colorful chemical tags attached to chromosomes in their neurons, and found that chromosomes constantly change shape to repair DNA damage, but move twice as much during sleep as when awake.
“I think this is one of the key reasons we need to sleep,” said Lior Appelbaum from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “An offline period gives us time to clean up everything for the next day, to give us a fresh start before we are busy with wakefulness again.”
From The Guardian:
Appelbaum said that chromosomes are constantly changing shape to allow the cells’ natural repair mechanisms to mend DNA damage at different points. When awake, the repair work cannot keep up with the rate at which damage builds up, but in the calm hours of sleep, the repair mechanisms have a chance to get on top of the job.
“It’s surprising, because the brain goes into a rest state, but the chromosomes move about twice as much during sleep,” Appelbaum said. “There is repair going on in the day, but sleep allows you to catch up.”
The process is akin to local councils patching up potholes at night when the traffic has eased.
“I propose that, when we are very tired, neurons accumulate so much damage that they signal the whole brain that we have to go to sleep to fix the damage and avoid going into an unsafe zone,” he added.
Next, they plan to replicate the study in mice.
Source: Sleep increases chromosome dynamics to enable reduction of accumulating DNA damage in single neurons
Yale scientists have managed to restore some biological function to the brains of dead pigs killed in a slaughterhouse 4 hours before the experiment.
Well, sort of. Paleontologists have identified a 430 million-year-old fossil of a multi-tentacled sea creature as a new species and dubbed it Sollasina cthulhu after HP Lovecraft’s Great Old One. From Yale University: The new cthulhu, Sollasina, had 45 tentacle-like tube feet, which it used to crawl along the ocean floor and capture food. The […]
Archaeologists uncovered the skeleton of this neolithic dog more than a century ago in a 5,000 year old tomb on on the island of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. Now, forensic scientists and artists have reconstructed the animal’s face. According to Historic Environment Scotland researcher Steve Farrar, this dog and 23 others found in the “Cuween Hill […]
Are you super organized? You’re going to love the Genius Pack G4 and its seemingly limitless, well-placed compartments. Not that organized? You’re still going to love this piece of luggage because it’s so well thought out that it practically does the packing for you. We’ve all tried to stuff a piece of carry-on so full […]
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not just hungry for success. You’re hungry for knowledge, the insights that can lead to bigger and better ideas and ways to implement them. That knowledge is out there in the bestselling biz books that have changed the game over the years. There’s just one problem: In a fast-paced lifestyle, […]
Countless research studies have proven what is incredibly obvious to anyone who has a favorite song: Music can have a profound effect on our mood. So why not put that science to work for more than just de-stressing your commute? That’s the idea behind the Humm.ly Music Therapy App, a new tool that aims to […]