Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘sleep’

Do octopuses (and other animals) dream?

Video captured by Rebecca Otey (via YouTube) at the Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado seems to suggest that perhaps octopuses dream in their sleep: Although it is not clear whether octopuses really are dreaming when they change colors in their sleep, researchers at the World Science Festival in 2011 discussed work studying changes in brain activity of animals during sleep compared to wakefulness to gauge whether they may be dreaming:  

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Sleep = better DNA repair

I read an interesting article published in Nature Communications that described how zebrafish larvae need sleep to help fix damaged DNA that accumulates in their brains during the day. The researchers engineered zebrafish larvae to have fluorescent chromosomes in a single neuron, which allowed them to observe double-strand breaks in the DNA build-up during wakefulness. In contrast, chromosome activity necessary for repair increased when the animals were sleeping. If the researchers disrupted […]

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If only I were a fruit fly…

  Oh, to be a Drosophila. A new study published in Science Advances reports that male Drosophila have an amazing tolerance for sleep deprivation. I wish I could say the same about humans. Like people, sleep duration in flies varies between individuals, with some animals getting only a few minutes of sleep a day. In many other species, chronic sleep deprivation is associated with shorter lifespans. In this new study, researchers […]

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Lack of sleep stresses out birds too

Birds show signs of stress resulting from sleep loss. A new study published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology shows that zebra finches who are sleep deprived have increased expression of inflammatory genes in their fat tissues, spleen and hippocampus region of the brain along with  increased levels of circulating stress hormones. The hippocampus is the region of the brain associated with long term memory formation. I wonder if sleep deprived birds are […]

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Summer of Physiology

The Michigan Physiological Society, a chapter of the American Physiological Society, held their annual meeting this summer.  Here are some highlights from the meeting: The keynote address was given by Dr. Virginia Miller, Professor of Surgery and Physiology and Director of the Women’s Health Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Her talk was about “Sex-specific Differences in Risk for Cardiovascular Disease.” Specifically, how estrogen, menopause and pregnancy influence the risk […]

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Sleep vs torpor

  I read an interesting review article published in Physiology comparing the low metabolic states of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and torpor. According to the article, all mammals experience NREM sleep patterns during which energy expenditure is decreased and body as well as brain temperatures decline. Animals that experience torpor (hummingbirds, arctic ground squirrels, some mice, bears, etc) have reduced metabolic rates and body temperatures that dip below baseline. NREM […]

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Could research on fruit flies improve human sleep?

A new study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s in collaboration with Kyoto University has provided evidence that drosophila and mammals have similar proteins in their brain that help regulate the rhythm of body temperatures that are important in normal metabolism as well as sleep. According to a quote from Dr. Fumika Hamada, a lead study author, “We’re looking for a mechanistic understanding of how body temperature rhythms are regulated. […]

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