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Why do we sleep?

Our Better Health

To clean our brains, say US scientists

Cerebral spinal fluid found to pump around the brain of sleeping mice, flushing out waste products like a biological dishwasher

Ian Sample, Science correspondent theguardian.com, Friday 18 October 2013

Scientists in the US claim to have a new explanation for why we sleep: in the hours spent slumbering, a rubbish disposal service swings into action that cleans up waste in the brain.

Through a series of experiments on mice, the researchers showed that during sleep, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped around the brain, and flushes out waste products like a biological dishwasher.

The process helps to remove the molecular detritus that brain cells churn out as part of their natural activity, along with toxic proteins that can lead to dementia when they build up in the brain, the researchers say.

Maiken Nedergaard, who led the study at the University of Rochester, said the…

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