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Sleep Science

  • Scientists Successfully Produce REM Sleep

    Though sleep science is a relatively new field of study, the advances being made by researchers have been remarkable and fast-paced. It is the goal of sleep research to better understand sleep and be able to manipulate it in order to help those who suffer from sleep disorders and deficiencies. A team of scientists at MIT has brought that understanding one step closer with its latest study. Continue reading

  • Countering Our Hectic Days

    If you were to sit down across from your best friends over a pitcher of beer or a glass of wine and play a game of “Can You Top This” about how hectic your day is or what it is that winds you up so much each day that you have a hard time turning your brain off and falling asleep at night, how long would the game go on? Who would win? Continue reading

  • Alan Alda Challenges Scientists to Explain Sleep

    When you think of Alan Alda, you probably picture your favorite episode of M*A*S*H, the award-winning, long-running television show that ran in the 1970s and 1980s. But there’s more to Mr. Alda then that one role. Among other interests, he has a passion for science and making it accessible to young people, and as a result he initiated a challenge a few years back, inviting scientists to explain difficult concepts in terms that eleven year olds could understand. His initial challenge was to answer the question, “What is flame?” Since that time his questions have become known as the Flame Challenge, and this year’s question will address an issue that many adults would like the answer to as well: What is sleep? Continue reading

  • Sleep’s Role in Tumor Growth

    It has traditionally been understood that much of the body’s healing takes place when we are asleep, and nowhere has this information been more valuable than during the treatment of cancer patients. But a new study coming from Israeli scientists is giving rise to new questions about sleep’s role in tumor growth, and the study results may make a change in how cancer medication is dispensed.

    According to a report published in the October 3rd journal Nature Communications, scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel examined the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a receptor responsible for the migration and growth of both cancerous and noncancerous cells. It also controls glucocorticoids, which bind to glucocorticoid (GC) receptors in order to reduce inflammation in the body and help to maintain energy levels throughout the day. The scientists discovered that the activity of the EGFT slows down when the GC receptors are attached to its steroid message, a process that takes place during the day. Continue reading

  • The Reasons that we Yawn

    Yawning has always been associated with sleepiness, boredom, or both but new studies are starting to point to a variety of other reasons behind the behavior. Though we often find ourselves apologizing for yawning, especially if we do it in socially situations where we are expected to be alert and attentive, the truth is that yawning may have little to do with our level of interest in the people that we are with or the content that we are listening to, and instead may be an unconscious response to stress or an attempt to keep ourselves particularly alert. It turns out that yawning is something that happens to nearly all animals, and it has a variety of causes and reasons behind it.  Continue reading

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