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Sleep Deprivation

November 11, 2009

Researchers discover how to reverse the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation in mice.


Treating sleep deprivation…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sleep deprivation can have negative consequences for the brain, including short-term memory loss and an inability to focus. But now researchers have identified one cause of these deficits, and a way to reverse them, at least in mice. University of Pennsylvania Neurobiologist Ted Abel and his colleagues found that sleep-deprived mice are deficient in a brain chemical called cyclic AMP.

TED ABEL (University of Pennsylvania):
This is a molecule that’s critical for memory storage, without cyclic AMP, animals and humans exhibit memory deficits. And sleep deprivation reduces levels of this critical signaling molecule in the brain.

But he says treating the mice with a drug called rolipram returned cAMP to normal levels, and reversed the problems caused by sleep deprivation. He says the research could help lead to treatments for cognitive deficits in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.