Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why we could all do with a siesta

02.06.2006
The Spaniards may have been right all along – a siesta after a hearty lunch is natural, new research suggests.

Scientists at The University of Manchester have for the first time uncovered how brain cells or ‘neurons’ that keep us alert become turned off after we eat.

The findings – published in the scientific journal Neuron this week – have implications for treating obesity and eating disorders as well as understanding levels of consciousness.

“It has been known for a while that people and animals can become sleepy and less active after a meal, but brain signals responsible for this were poorly understood,” said Dr Denis Burdakov, the lead researcher based in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

“We have pinpointed how glucose – the sugar in food – can stop brain cells from producing signals that keep us awake.

Dr Burdakov’s research has shown exactly how glucose blocks or ‘inhibits’ neurons that make orexins – tiny proteins that are vital for normal regulation of our state of consciousness.

“These cells are critical for responding to the ever-changing body-energy state with finely orchestrated changes in arousal, food seeking, hormone release and metabolic rate to ensure that the brain always has adequate glucose.”

Malfunction of orexin neurons can lead to narcolepsy, where sufferers cannot stay awake, and obesity; there is also evidence that orexin neurons play a role in learning, reward-seeking and addiction.

“We have identified the pore in the membrane of orexin-producing cells that is responsible for the inhibiting effect of glucose.

“This previously unknown mechanism is so sensitive it can detect minute changes in glucose levels – the type that occurs between meals for example.

“This may well provide an explanation for after-meal tiredness and why it is difficult to sleep when hungry.

“Now we know how glucose stops orexin neurons ‘firing’, we have a better understanding of what may occur in disorders of sleep and body weight.

“This research perhaps sheds light on why our European friends are so fond of their siestas.”

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht High-Speed Locomotion Neurons Found in the Brainstem
24.10.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise
24.10.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A quantum spin liquid

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>