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How the brain ‘takes out the trash’ while we sleep

KurzweilAI: "A new study shows that a recently discovered system that flushes waste from the brain is primarily active during sleep, giving fresh meaning to the old adage that a good night’s sleep clears the mind.

This revelation could transform scientists’ understanding of the biological purpose of sleep and point to new ways to treat neurological disorders.

“This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the article.

“In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the byproducts of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.”

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