If you don't snooze, do you lose? Wake-sleep patterns affect brain synapses during adolescence.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Sleep deprivation (Research)
Sleep deprivation (Risk factors)
Sleep deprivation (Prevention)
Adolescence (Health aspects)
Pub Date: 09/22/2011
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Fall-Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 277270184
Full Text: [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

An ongoing lack of sleep during adolescence could lead TO more than dragging, foggy teens, a University of Wisconsin-Madison study suggests. Researchers have found that short-term sleep restriction in adolescent mice prevented the balanced growth and depletion of brain synapses, connections between nerve cells where communication occurs.

"Adolescence is a sensitive period of development during which the brain changes dramatically," Cirelli says. "There is a massive remodeling of nerve circuits, with many new synapses formed and then eliminated."

Cirelli and colleagues wanted to see how alterations to the sleep-wake cycle affected the anatomy of the developing adolescent brain.

Using a two-photon microscope, researchers indirectly followed the growth and refraction of synapses by counting dendritic spines, the elongated structures that contain synapses and thus allow Drain cells to receive impulses from other brain cells. They compared adolescent mice that for eight to 10 hours were spontaneously awake, allowed to sleep or forced to stay awake. The live images showed that being asleep or awake made a difference in the dynamic adolescent mouse brain the overall density of dendritic spines fell during sleep and rose during spontaneous or forced wakefulness.

The experiments are under way, but Cirelli can't predict the outcome "It could be that the changes are benign, temporary, and reversible," she says, "or there could be lasting consequences for brain maturation and functioning."

University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011, Oct 10). If you don't snooze do you lose? Wake-sleep patterns affect brain synapses during adolescence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www. sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111009140219.htm
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