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Striking electron microscope pictures from inside the brains of mice suggest what happens in our own brain every day: our synapses grow strong and large during the stimulation of daytime, then shrink by nearly 20% while we sleep, creating room for more growth and learning the next day. The 4-year research project published today in Science offers a direct visual proof of the “synaptic homeostasis hypothesis.”
Researchers took blood samples from 11 pairs of identical twins with different sleep patterns and discovered that the twin with shorter sleep duration had a depressed immune system, compared with his or her sibling. The findings of this study, one of first conducted outside of sleep lab, were published January 25th in the journal Sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends screening patients who have a high risk for OSA, even if they don't have any sleep-related symptoms. Screening high-risk populations could improve the quality of life and health outcomes for these patients and also reduce the individual and public health burden of untreated OSA.
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