Have You Ever Wondered How the Brain Cleans Itself?

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By Miriam Mandel Md

Okay, maybe you haven’t…

I geek out on these kinds of things and find it fascinating how ingeniously we were created!!

There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the brain, and it fits quite snuggly within the skull.

How does the fluid that circulates the brain and spinal cord have room to clean in-between the tightly packed cells and remove the metabolites that build up daily?

The brain is one of the highest metabolic organs in the human body and therefore creates much waste.

Every night during non-REM sleep, the ‘supporting’ cells that surround our neurons (called glial cells) shrink, so the neurons get plenty of access for a “power wash” from the CSF (cerebral spinal fluid that circulates the brain)

This nightly wash is what gets rid of the metabolites and keeps the brain functioning at its best.

The washing that goes on is 20x more effective during sleep than during the day.

What are the metabolites that build up? Beta-amyloid.

What do they find in excess in Alzheimer’s patients? Beta-amyloid.

Alzheimer’s and sleep disturbances always coexist, according to Dr. Matt Walker, who is a neuroscientist at UCLA Berkeley.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were two public figures that boasted about how little sleep they got.

Do you know they both developed dementia?

Is there a collation?

What do you think?

In the meantime, science strongly supports that getting at least 7 hours of sleep daily is the foundation for good mental and physical health.

Good to know !

Note from Dr. Mandel.

“I left clinical pediatrics and have been researching and teaching the connections between mind and body medicine for over 13 years. My passion is teaching individuals (especially teens and their families) to look for the answers they are seeking on the INSIDE, where all the answers lie.

I currently see individual clients but most of my time is working with K-12 staff (and parents) in public and private schools helping them learn to self regulate and self soothe using their physiology and mindset. I support them in learning these skills for themselves and the natural progression of teaching it to their students by being the example. It’s a win-win.’

She can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/miriam-mandel-md-4385541ba/ Comments

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David Hernandez
February 28, 2023 8:18 am

Hello Dr. Mandell,
Great article on (anther reason) why sleep is important.
I also agree that the remedy for anxiety and other issues lies in the inside. I coach doctors using CBT and Stoicism to help them find peace and clarity of mind regardless of their external circumstances. It’s been very gratifying.
Thanks for the article!

February 26, 2023 9:54 am

Fascinating! I never knew of this particular role of the CSF!

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