Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Sleep: the Brain’s Reset Button

  Recently, psychiatry professors Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli published an article outlining their hypothesis on the purpose of sleep and how it affects memory and learning.  They point out that all living animals require sleep, from humans to fruit flies. Dolphins and whales even sleep by turning off one hemisphere of their brain at a time, which allows them to still surface to breathe. But what benefit could sleep provide that outweighs leaving one weak and vulnerable? Nearly a century ago, scientists proposed the idea that sleep is important to memory. Many believed, and a myriad of studies have shown, that newly formed memories are remembered more strongly after a period of sleep than if one were to spend that time awake.  Naturally, a hypothesis was formed that sleep strengthens the synaptic connections (the contact points between neurons) formed during waking hours. The thought process being that as the connected neurons fire repeatedly, and then are replayed during sleep, those synapses become stronger and more readily relay information...

Read More

Fighting Fatigue in MS

  Feeling tired? Yawning a lot? Lack of physical or mental energy? Fatigue can be one of the most disabling symptoms for MS patients because it can severely impact your physical and social quality of life. Fatigue in multiple sclerosis is categorized two ways: physiological fatigue (due to physical causes such as muscle weakness leading to reduced activity and exercise intolerance) and psychological fatigue (due to mental causes stemming from sleeplessness, reduced motivation, concentration problems and depression).  Clinically, two types of fatigue are recognized and treated appropriately in MS patients: Primary fatigue: Due to the disease process including inflammation, loss of nerve fibers in the central nervous system, immunological factors and neuroendocrine dysfunction. Secondary fatigue: Due to other causal factors including disease conditions such as sleeplessness, depression and psychological factors (e.g., sense of control over oneself). Almost 100% of MS patients experience fatigue at some point of time during the course of the disease.  Nearly 85% of patient report experiencing fatigue at least once a week, 39% experience fatigue...

Read More