AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology


Photo Credit: mont3rros4

We all know that sleep deprivation causes the brain to become exhausted, but  a recent new study has shown that sleep deprivation causes nerve cells to become increasingly jumpy.


Most of us these days don’t get enough sleep. But sleep deprivation can cause people to have seizures and hallucinations. People believe that sleep deprivation lowers a person’s alertness, but Marcello Massimini from the University of Milan and his fellow colleagues have discovered that the brain actually becomes more reactive as hours awake accumulate.

Six people were gathered and did not sleep for a whole day. Massimini gave each person a jolt of magnetic current to the participants skull. The nerve cell received an electrical response and Massimini was able to measure the strength of the electrical response. He did this to the patients twice. Once right after they woke up from sleep and once after they hadn’t sleep for a whole day. The results were that the patients had a stronger electrical response after they hadn’t slept for a whole day than when they just woke up.

The theory is that the brain accumulates connection as the person learns new things. Sleep clears the brain of extra information and leaves only the most important information and connections. These enhanced excitability could be the explanation of why people have seizures after they haven’t slept in a whole day. Also doctors have induced seizures on patients by keeping them up all night. New studies are being tested if wether sleep deprivation can lead to reversing depression since the brain has a heightened excitement without sleep.

Other effects of sleep deprivation are stress, memory impairment, and poor quality of life. It is advisable for teenagers and adults to get about 8-9 hours of sleep. Now lets get some sleep!

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  1. cjobios

    When we sleep, our bodies need to dispose of “toxic metabolic byproducts.” These wastes build up in the brain and can seriously debiltate it’s functioning. The accumulation of the byproducts also “destroy neurons — and potentially cause neurodegenerative disorders.” Not good. The removal of the metabolic byproducts is the responsibility of the lymphatic system, which “bathes the cells and tissues in the body, collects cellular waste products and dumps them back into the bloodstream to be filtered from the body.” The main issue with the lymphatic system is that the brain does not possess an lymphatic vessels. To read more on this interesting topic, see!

  2. Mont3rros4

    Thank for using one of my photos


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