The Effects Of Sleep On The Brain

1095 WordsDec 18, 20145 Pages
A recent news article on CNN, Lack of Sleep May Shrink Your Brain, cites a research study suggesting that insomnia and other reasons for sleep deprivation may reduce brain mass. Although the study was correlational, the author of the news article focuses mostly on one of the three possible relations between sleep and brain mass: lack of sleep may cause shrinking of the brain. Only at the end of article, the author mentions that shrinking of the brain may cause lack of sleep, but completely disregards the third possibility that a third variable may cause both the shrinking of the brain and lack of sleep. The research study cited in the news article was published in Neurology and was titled Poor Sleep Quality is Associated with Increased Cortical Atrophy in Community-Dwelling Adults. Seven researchers from the University of Oxford in Norway published this study in June of 2014. Although sleep has been studied extensively, and it is common knowledge that lack of sleep is unhealthy for the brain, these researchers wanted to look into the relationship between the quality of sleep and long term brain structure changes. Specifically, they looked at the cortical and hippocampal regions to see how much atrophy had occurred. The researchers also tapped into the variables of age, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure to see if and how they affects the extent of the degeneration of brain cells. Researchers also included these variables to rule out confounds that
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