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Fish and people sleep similarly – Axios



Why it matters: Researchers hope a better understanding of how zebrafish sleep, down to the mobile level, can unlock pathways for new treatments for sleep disorders that affect 50-70 million Americans but are often undiagnosed. It can also improve its understanding of the role of sleep in memory and our physical health.

What they did: Zebrafish lacks a neocortex – the part of the mammalian brain involved in higher order functions such as sleep and the goal of sleeping studies – so the researchers from Stanford University and institutions in Japan and France needed to find a solution.

  • They developed an image platform that allowed them to see proxy for brain and muscle activity via fluorescence, as well as heart rate and eye movement.
  • They used two-week-old zebrafish because they are transparent and therefore ideal for fluorescent imaging.
  • They also performed other experiments to determine the effects of certain compounds on zebrafish sleep and wake cycles.

What they found: Ependymal cells – present in humans and zebrafish, and are known to play a role in the brain and spinal cord – are among the first to be activated as f

The researchers also found human hypnotics – compounds found in sleeping pills and anesthetics – can also induce sleep phases in the fish that are analogous to humans.

  • And similar to those seen in humans, chemicals are released
  • What's New: Scientists had observed invertebrates (octopuses, insects) and vertebrates (fish, amphibians, birds, mammals) asleep, but the physiological signatures of sleep, such as rapid eye movement, had only been observed in mammals, birds and reptiles, says study co-author Philippe Mourrain from Stanford University to Axios.

    What they say: "You can't just say sleep is sleep," Jerry Siegel, a sleep scientist at UCLA who was not involved in the study, told National Geographic. He warned that connections between sleep in young zebrafish and sleep in humans are less simple than the study suggests. For example, he said many mammals lack REM sleep and some mammals sleep 20 hours a day while others only need 6 to 8 hours or less.

    The study's leading author, Louis C. Leung from Stanford, tells Axios:

    "I encourage everyone to safeguard what has taken the 100th of millions of years to create and hope that there will soon be a change in it public story of the importance of sleep. We should be proud not embarrassed to get enough sleep ". [19659013] What is next: Development of animal models that investigate sleep functions at the cellular level, such as that in this study, can lead to treatments for sleep disorders associated with psychiatric disorders as well as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

    Go deeper: Americans sleep more


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