A new study on sleep loss may become a wake-up call to those who work overnight hours or suffer from insomnia.
Missing sleep could cause brain damage, according to information published in the Journal of Neuroscience on Tuesday.
"This is the first report that sleep loss can actually result in a loss of neurons," says Sigrid Veasey, an associate professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Veasey's team, according to a Penn Medicine press release, examined mice following periods of normal rest, short wakefulness, or extended wakefulness, modeling a shift worker's typical sleep pattern.
They've concluded that inconsistent patterns of sleep have led to neurological damage to the mice (concerning a certain protein called SirT3).
More research is needed and the medical team hopes to study the brains of deceased shift workers to fully understand the affect on humans.
They think it may one day be possible to develop a drug to protect the brain from the side-effects of lost sleep.
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