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Thread: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

  1. #1
    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    DARPA - the research arm of the DoD - is apparently working on this.

    http://www.wired.com/science/discove...ep_deprivation
    Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep

    In what sounds like a dream for millions of tired coffee drinkers, Darpa-funded scientists might have found a drug that will eliminate sleepiness.

    A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests. The discovery's first application will probably be in treatment of the severe sleep disorder narcolepsy.

    The treatment is "a totally new route for increasing arousal, and the new study shows it to be relatively benign," said Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a co-author of the paper. "It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess."

    Orexin A is a promising candidate to become a "sleep replacement" drug. For decades, stimulants have been used to combat sleepiness, but they can be addictive and often have side effects, including raising blood pressure or causing mood swings. The military, for example, administers amphetamines to pilots flying long distances, and has funded research into new drugs like the stimulant modafinil (.pdf) and orexin A in an effort to help troops stay awake with the fewest side effects.

    The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.

    The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys' cognitive abilities but made their brains look "awake" in PET scans.

    Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is "specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness" without other impacts on the brain.

    Such a product could be widely desired by the more than 70 percent of Americans who the National Sleep Foundation estimates get less than the generally recommended eight hours of sleep per night (.pdf).

    The research follows the discovery by Siegel that the absence of orexin A appears to cause narcolepsy. That finding pointed to a major role for the peptide's absence in causing sleepiness. It stood to reason that if the deficit of orexin A makes people sleepy, adding it back into the brain would reduce the effects, said Siegel.

    "What we've been doing so far is increasing arousal without dealing with the underlying problem," he said. "If the underlying deficit is a loss of orexin, and it clearly is, then the best treatment would be orexin."

    Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, said that while research into drugs for sleepiness is "very interesting," he cautioned that the long-term consequences of not sleeping were not well-known.

    Both Twery and Siegel noted that it is unclear whether or not treating the brain chemistry behind sleepiness would alleviate the other problems associated with sleep deprivation.

    "New research indicates that not getting enough sleep is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders," said Twery.

    Still, Siegel said that Americans already recognize that sleepiness is a problem and have long treated it with a variety of stimulants.

    "We have to realize that we are already living in a society where we are already self-medicating with caffeine," he said.

    He also said that modafinil, which is marketed as Provigil by Cephalon and Alertec in Canada, has become widely used by healthy individuals for managing sleepiness.

    "We have these other precedents, and it's not clear that you can't use orexin A temporarily to reduce sleep," said Siegel. "On the other hand, you'd have to be a fool to advocate taking this and reducing sleep as much as possible."

    Sleep advocates probably won't have to worry about orexin A reaching drugstore shelves for many years. Any commercial treatment using the substance would need approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which can take more than a decade.

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  3. #2
    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    There was a really good X-Files episode about this. Unfortunately, the soldiers ended up going insane and turning into bloodthirsty zombies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Member Razor Shines's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS View Post
    There was a really good X-Files episode about this. Unfortunately, the soldiers ended up going insane and turning into bloodthirsty zombies.
    Well as long as they list that as one of the possible side effects they should be safe from any lawsuits.

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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    That could be useful in my line of work.

  6. #5
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    I think Orexin A was used on monkeys years ago by some old hag. I always thought the "O" in O-E-O, ah-O, O was for Orexin.

    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  7. #6
    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Warning: May cause zombification. If zombification occurs, please consult a zombie physician*. Laboratory test have indicated that eating brains will not cure zombification. Symptoms for zombification include: dark rings around eyes, significant hair loss, absence of pulse, albino-like skin pigmentation, absence of soul, tattered cloths, and an enjoyment to elevator music. If you know someone who is a zombie, please consult a shot gun and aim for the head. The makers of Orexin A are not responsible for weight loss, loss of appetite, or a plague of the living dead wandering the Earth. Not to be taken rectally.

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Hahahaha, MrC that is good stuff.

    Maybe add "Involuntary Moaning"
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    The Future GoReds33's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    I actually think this could be extremly valuable. I just hope it isn't something immediatly available to everyone. Things like this could easily be abused if in the wrong hands.
    If you can't build a winning team with that core a fire-sale isn't the solution. Selling the franchise, moving them to Nashville and converting GABP into a used car lot is.
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  10. #9
    You're being very UnDude. sonny's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCinatit View Post
    Warning: May cause zombification. If zombification occurs, please consult a zombie physician*. Laboratory test have indicated that eating brains will not cure zombification. Symptoms for zombification include: dark rings around eyes, significant hair loss, absence of pulse, albino-like skin pigmentation, absence of soul, tattered cloths, and an enjoyment to elevator music. If you know someone who is a zombie, please consult a shot gun and aim for the head. The makers of Orexin A are not responsible for weight loss, loss of appetite, or a plague of the living dead wandering the Earth. Not to be taken rectally.
    You forgot "You should not take Orexin if you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant."
    Witty signature.

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    You're being very UnDude. sonny's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by GoReds33 View Post
    I actually think this could be extremly valuable. I just hope it isn't something immediatly available to everyone. Things like this could easily be abused if in the wrong hands.
    Thats what they said about Kryptonite.
    Witty signature.

  12. #11
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by GoReds33 View Post
    I actually think this could be extremly valuable. I just hope it isn't something immediatly available to everyone. Things like this could easily be abused if in the wrong hands.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that the workday would increase to 10+ hours. If you don't need to go home to prevent fatigue, there's no reason for them to let you leave at the end of the day.
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  13. #12
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    So glad stuff like this gets funding...pfft
    Go Gators!

  14. #13
    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Will all new performance records have an asterisk*?
    0 Value Over Replacement Poster


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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests.
    So how is a well rested monkey suppose to perform?

    And did the monkeys administer the nasal spray themselves? That would be quite remarkable.

    The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours
    Isn't that against the Geneva Convention?
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  16. #15
    Manliness Personified HumnHilghtFreel's Avatar
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    Re: Snorting a Brain Chemical That Could Replace Sleep

    Sounds... awful.

    At least to me. I love me some sleep at the end of a long day.


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