Sleepless nights can shrink human brain: Study
London: In a finding that could lead to new
treatment for insomnia, a new study has claimed that
sleeplessness may actually shrink a person`s brain.
The University of Cambridge study -- the first to link
insomnia to a reduction in vital grey matter -- showed that
those with chronic sleep problems had lower grey matter
density in brain areas used to make decisions.
Dr Ellemarije Altena, who led the research, said: "The
findings predict that chronic insomnia sufferers may have
compromised capacities to assess stimuli.
"This could have consequences for other thought
processes, notably decision-making," she said, adding that
their finding could pave way for new treatment for those who
struggle with sleeplessness as the brain areas are also used
to regulate rest.
For their study, the scientists compared the brains of
chronic insomnia patients to normal sleepers.
They found that those with severe insomniacs exhibited
the most extensive density loss, regardless of how long they
had suffered from the disorder.
However, the researchers are not yet able to pin down
whether sleeplessness precedes grey matter loss or the other