A8 THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2001 HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL • SLEEP STUDY Sleep especially good for young Sleeping after learning helps in brain development By Scrlpps Howard News Service Everyone knows that babies sleep a lot but not always when Mom and Dad like. Now researchers in San Francisco, who used young cats for a test, have found evidence that getting a lot of sleep early in life plays a crucial role in the brain's development. While the new study focused specifically on the effect of sleep on brains tied to visual development in young cats, the scientists say their findings have broad implications both for development of brain structures in young animals and for the rewiring of neuronal connections. "This is the first direct evidence that sleep modifies the effect of environmental stimuli on the development of new brain connections," said Marcos Frank, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-San Francisco and lead author of the report in the journal Neuron. The research adds to evidence from other studies that sleep is required for the brain to maintain and strengthen neural networks. "Every animal sleeps — even flies may have a state like sleep ... but why the brain needs sleep has remained a mystery," Frank said. Brain 'plasticity' The research team, led by Michael Stryker, chairman of the university's physiology department, sought to measure the effect of sleep on the brain "plasticity" of cats after they had experienced an environmental challenge — having vision blocked in one eye for six hours. The team used brain imaging and recordings of electrical activity in brain cells to measure the changes. Brain plasticity occurs when brain connections grow and are strengthened when neurons are stimulated by events or information from surroundings. The visual deprivation caused a rapid change of brain circuitry connected to processing visual images. The team determined, though, that animals allowed to sleep for six hours after visual deprivation developed twice the amount of brain change as cats kept awake in a dark room during a similar period. Specifically, the researchers noted brain re-wiring most depended on how much non- rapid-eye-movement sleep the animals got. This type of deep, quiet slumber is marked by large, slow brain waves, the kind of sleep people typically fall into when they first go to sleep. These quiet periods alternate with periods of so-called dream sleep, episodes of rapidly changing brain waves and rapid eye movement (REM). Stryker said the findings lend credence to the theory that sleeping helps to consolidate waking experiences into the cortex of the brain, converting short-term memory into more permanent or enhanced forms. This seems to apply to both babies and older brains. "The fact that sleep provoked slightly more plasticity than double the amount of exposure to experience (when the cats were kept awake) suggests that if you reviewed your notes thoroughly until you were tired and then slept, you'd achieve as much plasticity or learning in the brain as if you'd pulled an all-nighter," Stryker said. T ORAL CANCER Oral cancer chances detected by counting Chromosome number in white patches can predict likelihood By The Associated Press A simple genetic test can help doctors accurately predict whether people with common white patches inside their mouths are likely to develop deadly oral cancer. The technique developed at the University of Oslo could help. physicians assess patients with the patches, called oral leukoplakia, so they can be treated early if cancer appears likely "I think there is a message to physicians: Beware of white patches," said Dr. Jon Sudbo, whose study was published in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. "There is a message to consumers and patients: Beware of white patches. And get them investigated." The key is the number of chromosomes in the cells that make up those patches. ' If it's the normal 46, cancer is unlikely. If the number is doubled, cancer is more likely And it becomes very likely if the number cannot be divided evenly by 23, the number of chromosomes received from each parent. More than 300,000 people around the world, including about 30,000 in the United States, are diagnosed each year with oral cancer, making it the nation's No. 11 cancer and the ninth most common worldwide. More than half of those people die within five years, large!- ly because the cancers are hard to diagnose early. The death rate hasn't changed in more than 20 years. Because there is no way to know which white patches will develop into cancer, doctors often remove them as a precaution. But there is also no good way to tell whether they have removed enough. Typhoid vaccine created for young children By The Associated Press A new vaccine will allow doctors to immunize children younger than 5 against typhoid fever, a disease that affects 16 million people worldwide and icills 600,000 every year : Current vaccines are not recommended for children under the age of 6. The new vaccine has fewer side effects and is much more effective than those currently . available, doctors at the Insti- , tute of Child Health and Human Development report in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. ^ It protected more than 90 percent of the 5,525 Vietnamese children who received it, com- i)ared with an immunization , rate of 70 percent for current vaccines, Dr Feng Ying Lin wrote in the study The researchers plan to begin trials of the new vaccine in infants late this year. If their findings are confirmed In babies, Drs. Richard Guerrant and Margaret Kosek of the University of Virginia wrote in an editorial, "this vaccine will provide another exciting ad vance in the fight against an increasingly resistant, highly virulent pathogen of poverty" Doctors believed for a long time that children did not get typhoid, but in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, where the study was done, 413 of every 100,000 children came down with the disease, Lin wrote. ReliAbiliTATioN CENTER Extra time and support for personalized healthcare. 1007 Johnstown / Salina, KS / 785-823-7107 oafe money, \juaran teed. fixed rate CD Limited time offer^ood thru April30,2001. capf ed.com MEMBER tiJ FDIC. s 1-888-8CAPFED (1-888-822-7333) any day 7am - 11pm 'Annual Percentage Yield effective as of 4/18/01. $500 minimum balance to open and earn APY. Penalty for early wittidrawal. Availability of this 'Investment may be discontinued at any time without notice. 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