Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Sleep researcher idenitifies area of brain that wakes you up when oxygen levels drop
This article discusses how a sleep researcher demonstrates the area of the brain affected by low oxygen levels at night when sleep apnea occurs. The area is called the parabracheal nucleus (PBN) and is responsible for waking your brain up if your oxygen level gets too low. That's a good thing, so that people with obstructive sleep apnea keep breathing when asleep. The results also showed that a neurotransmitter called GABA can reduce the PBN's ability to wake the brain up. This is important because some sleeping pills enhance GABA - and could therefore reduced the PBN's effectiveness!