Thursday, October 31, 2013
This article discusses how lack of sleep is a huge issue for adults, and what those who aren't getting enough sleep should to do fix it.
This article discusses the benefits to treating sleep apnea, including helping you look younger.
There’s no shortage of reasons to treat obstructive sleep apnea, including your overall health, your ability to function well during the daytime, and even your sex life. Here’s another: treating your sleep apnea will likely improve your appearance. New research indicates that effectively treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy results in patients looking younger and more attractive.
Researchers at the University of Michigan examined the impact of CPAP therapy for obstructive sleep apnea on patients’ facial appearance, and found noticeable—and measurable—improvements after consistent use of CPAP. The study included 20 adults, 14 men and 6 women, all of whom had obstructive sleep apnea. Researchers took highly detailed 3-dimensional imagesof participants’ faces, both before CPAP treatment began and again after 2 months of regular use of CPAP. Researchers then asked a group of 22 volunteers to assess both the before and after-treatment images. For each sleep apnea patient, volunteers were asked to identify what they believed was the post-treatment image, as well as to compare and rate the before and after pictures for alertness, youthfulness, and attractiveness. Researchers also used 3-D imaging to measure several aspects of appearance, including facial redness and forehead surface volume. They found significant differences to appearance after treatment, according both to volunteers’ impressions and objective measurements:
- In a significant majority of instances, volunteers were able to correctly identify the post-treatment images of sleep apnea patients
- Volunteers also were 2 times as likely to rate the post-treatment images as more youthful, more attractive, and more alert looking
- Image analysis showed that after 2 months of CPAP treatment, facial redness around the eyes and cheeks had diminished
- Forehead surface area had also decreased after 2 months of CPAP, a finding that researchers suggested may be attributed to changes in fluid circulation at night.
These results illustrate what most of us already know from looking in the mirror, or at the faces of those familiar to us: when we sleep well, we look better. Other recent research has also explored the relationship between sleeping well and looking good, with similar findings:
- Scientists at the University of Stockholm studied the impact of sleep deprivation on facial appearance. They found sleep-deprived people were observed to have redder and more swollen eyes, hanging eyelids, and darker circles under the eyes, as well as more wrinkles and paler skin. According to the study’s findings, sleep-deprived people also looked sadder than those who were well rested.
- An earlier Swedish study by some of the same research team also found sleep-deprived people to be perceived by others as less healthy and less attractive than well-rested people.
- A study commissioned by the cosmetics manufacturer Estée Lauder and conducted by scientists at Cleveland’s University Hospital’s Case Medical Center found that people who slept poorly showed greater signs of skin aging, including more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and diminished skin elasticity. Poor sleepers also took longer to recover from sunburns and other environmental and stress-related skin damage.
Sufficient amounts of high-quality sleep are critical for cell rejuvenation as well as for healthy immune function, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing the effects of poor sleep in aging skin and less youthful appearances. One important way that sleep promotes cell restoration and provides boost to the immune system is through the release of the body’s own natural growth hormones. During phases of deep sleep, levels of human growth hormone in the body rise. These hormones play a powerful role in stimulating the immune system and in promoting cellular repair as well as new cell growth. Poor sleep, and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, diminish both sleep quantity and sleep quality, and can interfere with the body’s ability to rejuvenate cells and bolster immune function. This can result in a less attractive, less youthful appearance.
But the most serious consequences of poor sleep and untreated sleep disorders are more than skin deep. Obstructive sleep apnea, left untreated, is associated with significant risks for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Sleep apnea is also linked to type 2 diabetes and to greater incidence of depression. Patients with sleep apnea are at greater risk foraccident and injury.
CPAP therapy is effective in diminishing and even eliminating sleep apnea symptoms, decreasing these health risks significantly. But many patients who are prescribed CPAP don’t always use the device consistently. For people who are reluctant to use CPAP therapy on a regular basis, these results provide yet another incentive to stick with the treatment. You won’t just feel a difference in your sleep—you’ll see a difference in the way you look.
Our appearance is in so many ways a reflection of our general health and well-being. Sleeping well, and following recommendations made by our doctors for treating sleep disorders can help us look good and feel good.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Why are genetic evaluations important in epilepsy? Do migraine phenomena overlap with epilepsy? JR
POLG1 mutations cause a syndromic epilepsy with occipital lobe predilection.View Original ArticleLikeCommentShare
Monday, October 28, 2013
Prevalence of EEG paroxysmal activity in a population of children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Prevalence of EEG paroxysmal activity in a population of children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.View via PMCView Original ArticleLikeCommentShare
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A new study has discovered profound abnormalities in brain activity in a group of retired American football players.
Although the former players in the study were not diagnosed with any neurological condition, brain imaging tests revealed unusual activity that correlated with how many times they had left the field with a head injury during their careers.
Previous research has found that former American football players experience higher rates of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The new findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest that players also face a risk of subtle neurological deficits that don't show up on normal clinical tests.
The study involved 13 former National Football League (NFL) professionals who believed they were suffering from neurological problems affecting their everyday lives as a consequence of their careers.
The former players and 60 healthy volunteers were given a test that involved rearranging coloured balls in a series of tubes in as few steps as possible. Their brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they did the test.
The NFL group performed worse on the test than the healthy volunteers, but the difference was modest. More strikingly, the scans showed unusual patterns of brain activity in the frontal lobe. The difference between the two groups was so marked that a computer programme learned to distinguish NFL alumni and controls at close to 90 per cent accuracy based just on their frontal lobe activation patterns.
"The NFL alumni showed some of the most pronounced abnormalities in brain activity that I have ever seen, and I have processed a lot of patient data sets in the past," said Dr Adam Hampshire, lead author of the study, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London.
The frontal lobe is responsible for executive functions: higher-order brain activity that regulates other cognitive processes. The researchers think the differences seen in this study reflect deficits in executive function that might affect the person's ability to plan and organise their everyday lives.
"The critical fact is that the level of brain abnormality correlates strongly with the measure of head impacts of great enough severity to warrant being taken out of play. This means that it is highly likely that damage caused by blows to the head accumulate towards an executive impairment in later life."
Dr Hampshire and his colleagues at the University of Western Ontario, Canada suggest that fMRI could be used to reveal potential neurological problems in American football players that aren't picked up by standard clinical tests. Brain imaging results could be useful to retired players who are negotiating compensation for neurological problems that may be related to their careers. Players could also be scanned each season to detect problems early.
The findings also highlight the inadequacy of standard cognitive tests for detecting certain types of behavioural deficit.
"Researchers have put a lot of time into developing tests to pick up on executive dysfunction, but none of them work at all well. It's not unusual for an individual who has had a blow to the head to perform relatively well on a neuropsychological testing battery, and then go on to struggle in everyday life.
"The results tell us something very interesting about the human brain, which is that after damage, it can work harder and bring extra areas on line in order to cope with cognitive tasks. It is likely that in more complicated real world scenarios, this plasticity is insufficient and consequently, the executive impairment is no longer masked. In this respect, the results are also of relevance to other patients who suffer from multiple head injuries.
"Of course, this is a relatively preliminary study. We really need to test more players and to track players across seasons using brain imaging."
A new study using mice showed that the brain clears out toxins from itself during sleep.
A good night's rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.
"Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a leader of the study.
For centuries, scientists and philosophers have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Only recently have scientists shown that sleep is important for storing memories. In this study, Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues unexpectedly found that sleep may be also be the period when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.
Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard's lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
"It's as if Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues have uncovered a network of hidden caves and these exciting results highlight the potential importance of the network in normal brain function," said Roderick Corriveau, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.
Initially the researchers studied the system by injecting dye into the CSF of mice and watching it flow through their brains while simultaneously monitoring electrical brain activity. The dye flowed rapidly when the mice were unconscious, either asleep or anesthetized. In contrast, the dye barely flowed when the same mice were awake.
"We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake," said Dr. Nedergaard. "It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states."
To test this idea, the researchers used electrodes inserted into the brain to directly measure the space between brain cells. They found that the space inside the brains increased by 60 percent when the mice were asleep or anesthetized.
"These are some dramatic changes in extracellular space," said Charles Nicholson, Ph.D., a professor at New York University's Langone Medical Center and an expert in measuring the dynamics of brain fluid flow and how it influences nerve cell communication.
Certain brain cells, called glia, control flow through the glymphatic system by shrinking or swelling. Noradrenaline is an arousing hormone that is also known to control cell volume. Similar to using anesthesia, treating awake mice with drugs that block noradrenaline induced unconsciousness and increased brain fluid flow and the space between cells, further supporting the link between the glymphatic system and consciousness.
Previous studies suggest that toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders accumulate in the space between brain cells. In this study, the researchers tested whether the glymphatic system controls this by injecting mice with labeled beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, and measuring how long it lasted in their brains when they were asleep or awake. Beta-amyloid disappeared faster in mice brains when the mice were asleep, suggesting sleep normally clears toxic molecules from the brain.
"These results may have broad implications for multiple neurological disorders," said Jim Koenig, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS. "This means the cells regulating the glymphatic system may be new targets for treating a range of disorders."
The results may also highlight the importance of sleep.
"We need sleep. It cleans up the brain," said Dr. Nedergaard.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder. Scientists do not know what causes it, but genetics play a clear role. Other risk factors have also been identified, including premature birth, low birth weight, a mother's use of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy, and environmental exposures to toxins like lead.
ADHD is characterized by an inability to focus, poor attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior, and the normal process of brain maturation is delayed in children with ADHD. Many individuals with ADHD also report sleep-related difficulties and disorders. In fact, sleep disorder treatments and chronobiological interventions intended to restore normal circadian rhythms, including light exposure therapy, have been shown to improve ADHD symptoms.
Estimates suggest that the average worldwide prevalence of ADHD ranges from about 5 to 7%, but it also varies greatly by region. A simple visual comparison of data maps released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Energy that display ADHD prevalence rates by state and solar intensities (sunlight) across the country, respectively, reveals an interesting pattern indicative of an association. So does this mean that there could be an identifiable relationship between ADHD prevalence rates and the sunlight intensity levels of particular regions?
The accumulation of these points led Dr. Martijn Arns and his colleagues to systematically and scientifically investigate this question. They collected and analyzed multiple data-sets from the United States and 9 other countries. Reporting their findings in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, they did find a relationship between solar intensity and ADHD prevalence.
Even after controlling for factors that are known to be associated with ADHD, both U.S. and non-U.S. regions with high sunlight intensity have a lower prevalence of ADHD, suggesting that high sunlight intensity may exert a 'protective' effect for ADHD.
To further validate their work, they also looked at this same relationship with autism and major depressive disorder diagnoses. They found that the findings were specific to ADHD, with no associations observed between the other two disorders.
"The reported association is intriguing, but it raises many questions that have no answers," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Do sunny climates reduce the severity or prevalence of ADHD and if so, how? Do people prone to develop ADHD tend to move away from sunny climates and if so, why?"
As with all scientific research, further work is necessary, including a prospective replication of these findings. It is also important to realize that this data reflects only an association -- not a causation -- between ADHD and solar intensity levels so worried parents should not start planning cross-country moves.
However, these findings do have significant implications, explains Dr. Arns. "From the public health perspective, manufacturers of tablets, smartphones and PCs could investigate the possibility of time-modulated color-adjustment of screens, to prevent unwanted exposure to blue light in the evening."
"These results could also point the way to prevention of a sub-group of ADHD, by increasing the exposure to natural light during the day in countries and states with low solar intensity. For example, skylight systems in classrooms and scheduling playtime in line with the biological clock could be explored further."