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Brains Clear Themselves of Toxins During Sleep

How Does it Concern You?

Neurodegenerative disease is a blanket term to define the various conditions primarily affecting the loss in function or death of neurons in the human brain.

Neurons can be considered as the building blocks of the nervous system. Since Neurons don’t reproduce or replenish themselves, they die on being damaged. Examples of neurodegenerative diseases include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease.

Most Neurodegenerative diseases cannot be cured and can be life-threatening. These diseases can incapacitate the body resulting in loss of body movements, or mental functioning or heart function.

Nedergaard and her colleagues have discovered a network that removes build-up waste from the brain by circulating the cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain tissue and washing out any resulting toxins into the bloodstream, which then transfers it to the liver for detoxification. They termed this as the “Glymphatic System”.

The “Glymphatic System removes wastes such as proteins called Amyloid-beta which accumulate into the plaques and may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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Brains Clear Themselves of Toxins During Sleep - About Islam

Cleansing System

Coupling the revelations of both studies, it appears that the cleansing system is ten times more active during sleep than while awake gives rise to very confusing, contradictive deductions: Either poor sleep may be causing accumulation of the toxin or poor sleep is a result of too much toxin.

It is still not known if sleep is regulated by the active removal of the buildup of waste products if we were to reverse the study’s revelations. For instance, if the accumulation of metabolic byproducts makes us sleepy or the active removal of these harmful toxins keeps the body from sleeping; thus improving neuron functionality.

Although this study has opened up an entirely new avenue for debate and unanswered questions, we may have gotten a step closer to knowing the reason for us dedicating a third of our lives to sleep.

For now, if actively proven correct for humans, Nedergaard is confident that the same waste disposal system will be found in humans as the ones at work in mice. She believes that this revelation could pave the way for medicines that could help slow the onset of dementias caused by the build-up of waste by-products in the brain and even help those who go without enough sleep.

Alas, we may be able to find a way to actively dispose of waste toxins without the need to sleep, thus saving the sleeping time to do something more productive!

This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date, and highlighted now for its importance

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