Ever kicked your partner while sleeping? Scientists at the University of Toronto have discovered why some people can’t stay still while they slumber, and it could lead to new ways to overcome REM sleep disorders, tooth grinding, narcolepsy and other snooze-related ailments.
The researchers monitored electrical activity in the faces of rats as they snored and found that the only way to stop sleep paralysis was to block off both ionotropic receptors and metabotropic GABAB receptors, trumping the earlier hypothesis that just one needed to be barricaded. When they starved the rodents’ brains of these signals, their muscles were active, meaning they work as a team, running interference on the wires in our skulls that let us move freely.
While it’s an interesting finding on its own, it could have some larger implications — around 80 per cent of people who have some kind of REM disorder end up developing some kind of neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s disease. And this could help them head the more serious issues off at the pass while they’re still just a problem of flailing around at night and waking up groggy in the morning. [Futurity]
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