A new study from the University of Copenhagen reveals that by influencing the level of salts, it is possible to control a mouse’s sleep-wake cycle. The research has just been published in the scientific journal Science.
For the first time, researchers have shown that the level of salts in our body and brain differ depending on whether we are asleep or awake and the discovery may be of great importance to research on psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and convulsive fits from lack of sleep as well as post-anesthetization confusion, according to Professor Maiken Nedergaard.
“These salts play a much larger and much more decisive role than hitherto imagined. The discovery reveals a completely new layer of understanding of how the brain functions. First and foremost, we learn more about how sleep is controlled. It may, however, also open up for a better future understanding of why some people suffer convulsive fits when staying awake all through the night,” says Professor Maiken Nedergaard from the Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen.
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