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Scientists have found a system in the brain that flushes out waste products from the brain.  And they further found that this system is mostly active when you are sleeping.  This information is found in a study published in the journal, Science.

Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine said, “In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.”


This system has been named the glymphatic system, your brain’s unique way to remove waste produces.  Mainly active during sleep, it clears out the toxins which have been shown to be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease as well as other neurological disorders.  Your brain’s cells shrink about 60% during sleep which allows the waste products to be removed more easily. 


The purpose of sleep has been a big question throughout time.  Remember that it has significant problems for the one asleep. There are many predators that can take advantage of this time when one is most vulnerable.  Therefore, sleep must be much more important than just to help consolidate our memories. There must be something else to outweigh this vulnerability that exists every night!

We have a system that disposes of waste in the body known as the lymphatic system, but the lymphatic system doesn’t extend to our brain.  Our brains are protected by a very tight, complex blood-brain barrier.  That barrier controls what can enter and what can exit our brain. 


The brain’s glymphatic system pumps cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) throughout the brain tissue, and it flushes the waste into the veins in the brain and gets back into our blood circulatory system.  The waste finally gets to the liver where it is cleaned up. 

The nightly removal is essential; accumulation of toxic amyloid-beta proteins can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In is a fact that almost all neurodegenerative diseases are associated with this buildup of cellular waste products. 

Authors of the study include Maiken Nedergaard, Lulu Xie, Hongyi Kang, Qiwu Xu, Michael Chen, Yonghong Liao, Thiyagarajan Meenakshisundaram, John O’Donnell, Daniel Christensen, Takahiro Takano, and Rashid Deane with URMC, Jeffrey Iliff with Oregon Health and Science University, and Charles Nicholson with New York University. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

One of the biggest things that cause a lack of sleep is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  The main symptom of OSA is snoring! And this condition is treatable! If you or someone you know snores and has a lot of daytime sleepiness, have them get tested for OSA. The test is simple and can be done in your own home privately by yourself.


About 80% of middle-aged women have hot flashes and night sweats, which researchers have discovered may is some way be associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This information is found in a study published in the journal Menopause.

Women with high blood pressure and obesity (BMI over 30), as well as women of normal weight are at risk. Even though OSA has been thought to be mainly a male health issue, women are also affected. The airway in men is longer than the airway in women. The risk for OSA in women goes up after menopause. This is because after menopause, testosterone dominates estrogen and weight gain is in the abdomen, neck, and tongue. This weight gain in the neck and tongue make the airway smaller and therefore these women are at increased risk for OSA. Fatigue and snoring, as well as headaches and depression, are common in women with OSA.

Researchers reported that even two years after their clinical consultation with these women who reported having hot flashes and night sweats, 65 % of that group of women who showed the increased risk of OSA were still undiagnosed. The consequences of this are devastating; they even include dementia and early death among other things.

The study found that better screening tools need to be implemented for women with night sweats and hot flashes to help detect these serious health issues, such as OSA, sooner and get the patients treatment sooner. OSA only gets worse with age!

Tonsils are located in the back of the throat and adenoids are located behind the nose. The are a filter for bugs (bacteria and viruses) to help protect against infections.  In many people, they shrink by the age of 6 or 7 but not in all people.  I am one of those who had to have them removed. They used ether back then.  And they are responsible for the collapse of my upper arch.  This happens in almost all kids who have large tonsils and adenoids.  The result is usually snoring and sleep apnea.

 Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in kids include snoring, breathing pauses restlessness during sleep, night sweats, excessive daytime tiredness, many throat infections, dark circles under the eyes, bed wetting during the night.  During the daytime, these children may be misdiagnosed as having ADD or ADHD.

Removal of tonsils and adenoids can help open the airway and may be all that is needed to stop OSA.  But if it is done too late, the result may be OSA in teen years and adult years.

Removal of tonsils and/or adenoids is usually tolerated well, but is necessary in maintaining health, just as many medical procedures are.  The surgery can also help with tonsil stones and swallowing problems.  It is among the most common surgery done on kids on an outpatient basis. 

There is an easy test to determine if your child has OSA and it is a home sleep test.  Make a free consultation appointment to find out more.

The slightest increase in resistance in the nose can cause big problems for those people who are being treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with either CPAP or a dental device.  This increase can be caused by a lot of different things.  A deviated septum, polyps, large turbinates, broken nose, allergies, etc.  Anything that slows down the flow of air through the nose should be ignored, especially for those with OSA.  Nose breathing is essential; if you are a mouth breather, you should find out why and get that fixed.

Even a tiny reduction in the size of the airway in the nose is critical!  If the size is reduced by only 25%, the flow is reduced by a factor of 16.  If the size is reduced by 50%, the flow is reduced by a factor of 16. This increases the collapse of the airway which leads to OSA.   So you can see that obstruction of the nasal airway is very important to be treated for those people who have OSA.  This can be a big reason why treatment for OSA with CPAP or a dental device may fail.

Therefore, any treatment for OSA should include an extensive examination of the nose.  And if there are any things which reduce flow, they should be treated.  At our office, we incorporate in our examination of patients for oral appliance therapy with a dental device (the comfortable alternative to CPAP) the use of the ECCOVISION rhinometer.  Our office is the only one in the area which uses to ECCOVISION.  The results of this exam may result in a referral to an ENT physician to the flow through the nose to increase the success of our treatment for OSA.

Studies indicate that about half of people with OSA have these issues with their nose.  So if you are one of those patients having issues with their CPAP or their dental device, make an appointment to have a test with our rhinometer to see if your nose is the problem.

You desperately want to be healthy and thrive.  Lack of sleep can cause your DNA to be altered and this may lead to disease.

The University of Helsinki, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare got together in a study to compare those with sufficient sleep and those with insufficient sleep.

They extracted DNA from the blood leukocytes of the men in the study so they could determine what the methylation levels are. There is a new field of study in genetics known as epigenetics which basically studies what causes a gene on the DNA to express itself.  For example, many women with a gene positive for breast cancer never get breast cancer.  Why?  That answer may be found in the epigenetic mechanisms on the DNA strand.  DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism.  It impacts the gene expression and, therefore it impacts how the cells function.

Their study did not find a single DNA methylation element which was significantly different in those who lacked sleep and those who did not lack sleep.  But when they analyzed molecular networks, they found that those subjects who lacked sleep had changes in this DNA methylation.  But it was in those in the elements that regulated gene expression which were part of the nervous system development pathway.  This is serious stuff just due to lack of sleep.  Are these changes permanent or can they be restored to their original state?  More research is needed.

But in the meantime, it would be important to become one of the subjects who did NOT lack sleep.  One of the biggest things that cause a lack of sleep is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  And this condition is treatable!  If you or someone you know snores and has a lot of daytime sleepiness, have them get tested for OSA.  The test is simple and can be done in your own home privately by yourself.

A simple dental device worn at night can be your solution if the test shows that you have OSA.   Call toll free (844) 84 SNORE to schedule a free consultation to discuss your concerns.

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