Sleep Disturbances In Teens Affects Brain Synapses

A recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reveals that teens who don’t get enough sleep may experience more than a groggy homeroom session. A team of researchers found that even just one night of disturbed sleep had a significant effect synaptic changes that occur in the brain.

In a study, scientists measured the brain activity of adolescent rodents while they slept and compared it to that of mice kept awake.

The investigators found that when the animals were deprived of sleep, their synaptic development was disrupted.

“Adolescence is a sensitive period of development during which the brain changes dramatically,” said lead author Chiara Cirelli, M.D., Ph.D. “There is a massive remodeling of nerve circuits, with many new synapses formed and then eliminated.”

Since the researchers observed the rodents during only one night, the team noted that further studies should be conducted to determine the long-term effects of sleep deprivation during adolescence.

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