Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Less sleep less brain?

I haven't had much about sleep recently but be assured that sufficient sleep is vital (see here)

Anyway just a quick one: Less sleep less brain

"We show, for the first time, that insomnia patients have lower grey matter density in brain regions involved in the evaluation of the pleasantness of stimuli, as well as in regions related to the brain's 'resting state'. The more severe the sleeping problems of insomniacs, the less grey matter density they have in the region involved in pleasantness evaluation, which may also be important for the recognition of optimal comfort to fall asleep," explained Altena. She added, "Our group previously showed that insomniacs have difficulties with recognizing optimal comfort. These findings urge further investigation into the definition of subtypes of insomnia and their causal factors, for which we have now initiated the Netherlands Sleep Registry."

You lose brain when you lose sleep!

Here is the abstract

Reduced Orbitofrontal and Parietal Gray Matter in Chronic Insomnia: A Voxel-Based Morphometric Study

Brain mechanisms of chronic insomnia, a highly prevalent condition, have barely been investigated. We demonstrate here a decrease in orbitofrontal gray matter (GM) volume that strongly correlates with the severity of complaints.
In a case-control study, optimized voxel-based morphometry was used to compare the regional brain volumes of 24 medication-free chronic primary insomnia patients (age range 52–74 years, 17 women), carefully selected to exclude psychiatric comorbidity, with those of 13 matched control subjects without sleep problems (age range 50–76 years, 9 women). Additionally, the correlation of regional volumes with insomnia severity was investigated.
Patients had a smaller volume of GM in the left orbitofrontal cortex, strongly correlating (r = −.71) with the subjective severity of insomnia. Furthermore, reduced GM volume was found in the anterior and posterior precuneus. Patients did not show increased GM volume in any area. No group differences were found for white matter volume.
This is the first voxel-based morphometry study showing structural brain correlates of insomnia and their relation with insomnia severity. Functional roles of the affected areas in decision-making and stimulus processing might better guide future research into the poorly understood condition of insomnia.


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Peter S said...

Not only do you lose brain, you lose the specific part of your brain you need to get more sleep! A perfect (and not untypical) vicious circle:)

Thanks for posting this -- and for starting the Dont Ban Butter fB group: that's a great initiative.

May the force be with you:

Ramesh said...

Have had very little to no sleep since Friday March 20. Took ambienon Monday at 10:45 and here I still am up at 1am Tuesday. I did try to fall asleep last night and I just lay awake. Never got anywhere close to falling asleep. I feel very strange and drugged, but not tired.