Meadville Tribune

Our Health

October 21, 2013

Sleep: The ultimate brainwasher?

(Continued)

In the original work, Nedergaard's group showed that glia, the brain's non-neuronal cells, control the flow of CSF through channels in their cell membranes. "If we delete the channels in glial cells, the flow almost stops," Nedergaard says. Because the transport of fluid across cell membranes requires a lot of energy, Nedergaard and her team had a hunch that the brain would not be able to both clean and process sensory information at the same time and decided to test whether the activity of the glymphatic system changed during sleep. Lulu Xie, the new study's first author, spent the next 2 years training mice to relax and fall asleep on a two-photon microscope, which can image the movement of dye through living tissue.

Once Xie was sure the mice were asleep, based on their EEG brain activity, she injected a green dye into their CSF through a catheterlike device in their necks. After half an hour, she awakened them by touching their tails and injected a red dye that the two-photon microscope could easily distinguish from the green. By tracking the movements of red and green dye throughout the brain, the team found that large amounts of CSF flowed into the brain during sleep, but not during the awake state, Nedergaard says.

A comparison of the volume of space between nerve cells while the mice were awake and asleep revealed that the glial channels carrying CSF expanded by 60 percent when the mice were asleep. The team also injected labeled β amyloid proteins into the brains of sleeping mice and awake mice and found that during sleep, CSF cleared away this "dirt" outside of the cells twice as quickly — "like a dishwasher," Nedergaard says. Such proteins can aggregate as pathogenic plaques inside cells and are associated with Alzheimer's disease, she says.

Text Only
Our Health
  • Don't let a desk job negatively impact your health

    If you’re female, you might want to consider a more physically active career to avoid a variety of cancers.

    July 21, 2014

  • Study focuses on cancer in those who apply pesticides

    This year marks the end of the Agricultural Health Study, a 20-year study of the effects of pesticides on farm workers and their families. Although the study focused on Iowa and North Carolina, there are still some elements that are important for Pennsylvania farmers as well as anyone who handles chemical compounds.

    June 30, 2014

  • Learn to swim and keep drowning at bay

    When you and your family hit the pool or the beach this summer, you need to be aware of a phenomenon known as secondary drowning, or dry drowning.

    June 16, 2014

  • ‘Planting’ the seeds of a better diet this summer

    Summertime is a great time to make improvements to your diet and lifestyle. Despite the conflicting “advice” you may get about diet when reading the popular press (not to mention all of the “food rules”), adding more plants to your diet is always a good idea.

    June 9, 2014

  • Is the idea of drinkable sunscreen worth swallowing?

    Tired of greasy, sticky hands after applying sunscreen? Even the spray-on sunscreens leave you inhaling fumes that you shouldn’t breathe. Well, enter a new era of skincare products: drinkable sunscreen.

    June 3, 2014

  • Survivor stories: Beating cancer with faith and family love

    I recently talked with Rebecca Arbuckle of Meadville to discuss her journey with breast cancer and how she was able to beat it with faith, strength and the love of her family. Although our conversation was upbeat and filled with confidence, there were times that emotion broke through, as it should, for having faced such a battle and won. I am in awe of the people I have had the chance to interview and am honored to share their stories.

    May 27, 2014

  • Uncovering the simple fix to the 'super bug'

    The World Health Organization has identified a serious threat to human health around the globe. Known as a “superbug,” this antimicrobial resistant bacterial infection has been coined “AMR” (Antimicrobial Resistance).

    May 19, 2014

  • Get educated about high blood pressure and eating better

    May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and one in three Americans have it. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk factor for stroke. Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” since you may feel no apparent symptoms. Yet, high blood pressure will cause damage to the blood vessels, brain and heart over time.

    May 13, 2014

  • Researchers: colon cleansing health benefits a myth

    Researchers have found that while colon cleansing has been around since ancient times, the health benefits are basically a myth.

    May 5, 2014

  • Prescription for Medical Nutrition Therapy

    Nutrition is a vital part of being well, and an even more important part to getting well (or healing). It’s a critical part of prevention, yet if I surveyed physicians or lay people, and asked them “Does diet therapy work?” chances are at least 70 percent of them would say “No.”

    April 21, 2014