Just going one night without sleep can make the brain grow, as if it suddenly aged one to two years overnight, a new study suggests.
However, these changes seem to disappear after a good night’s rest.
In the study, researchers used machine learning to generate “brain” statistics from scans of the brains of sleep-deprived people, which they compared to MRI scans of the brains of people after full sleep. . The result, published February 20 in Journal of Neuroscience (opens in a new tab)suggesting that one night of complete sleep produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after one or two years of aging.
Brain age “is a very interesting metric in terms of looking at how that changes from sleep loss,” he said. Judith Carroll is Adam Moon (opens in a new tab)professor of psychology and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved in the study.
Related: What happens in your brain while you sleep?
The researchers released five data sets, which included data from 134 participants in four groups: total sleep (no sleep for one night), sleep deprivation (three hours in bed for one night), chronic insomnia (five hours). in bed every night for five nights) and the control group (eight hours in bed every night). Each group had at least one night of basic sleep, where they spent eight hours in bed, before falling asleep; Most of the groups also got a full night’s sleep afterwards.
Each person received an MRI after each night, allowing researchers to compare how their brains looked before and after sleep deprivation, and after a full night’s rest.
The researchers determined the apparent age of the participants’ brains using a machine learning algorithm called brainageR, which was trained on data from more than 3,000 people. A publicly available algorithm predicts a person’s historical age from their brain MRI based on how a healthy brain looks at a given age, based on tissue and water volume. In previous experiments, researchers found that brainageR could accurately predict age within about four years.
In their new study, the researchers found that, for the group who didn’t sleep at all for one night, brainageR estimated that they were one to two years older, on average, than they would have been predicted to be. origin. These differences disappeared after a night of restorative sleep.
The partial and chronic insomnia groups did not have significant differences in their age predictions, compared to controls.
These results jibe with previous research on the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain. There is evidence that a variety of changes occur in the brains of people who have not slept, including changes in water distribution and gray matter volume.
This “spreading change in brain morphology… will be captured in this way by the age of the brain,” the study’s lead author Dr. David Elmenhorst (opens in a new tab), professor at the Center for Neuroscience and Medicine at the research center Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, told Live Science. Essentially, it classifies the results not as actual aging but as changes that a machine learning algorithm interprets as aging.
Because the study only found this effect in total sleep deprivation, it’s hard to say what the effects of sleep deprivation might be on the rest of your life, Carroll said. “I’m not sure that we can say anything about the long-term effects of chronic sleep loss, because even in the case of just five days,” she said.
The study was also limited. Elmenhorst said a larger sample size might show smaller effects in other groups, such as an increase in brain age of a few months. Future research could also include people who suffer from chronic insomnia, such as people who exercise, Carroll said.
“A lot of people have trouble sleeping [during the day] when they wake up all night,” she said. “Something more relevant to this in these groups, I think it could be more important and more information.”
#human #brain #years #night #sleep #small #study #shows