BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Scientists and doctors have always wondered why we need to sleep, and two recent reports suggest that sleep may actually clean out the brain, and if you don't clean up enough, that could mean trouble.
We know how active the brain is while we're awake, and that the activity changes during sleep, but what's going on? A report in the Journal Science shows that byproducts of brain activity are removed during sleep.
Dr. Jeffery Mador, a sleep medicine specialist at the VA Healthcare Center, said, "Metabolites that are built up in the brain when its working during the day might be effectively removed when you sleep. And if you don't sleep, and they're not effectively removed, then they may damage the brain, leading to worse brain function as you get older."
Dr. Mador knows how inadequate sleep affects health in many ways.
"You're more likely to be heavy, you're more likely to have cardiovascular disease, you're more likely to have diabetes," he said.
Now another report indicates that poor sleep may be related to Alzheimers. The amount of beta-amyloid, a protein related to Alzheimers, was measured in the brains of healthy older people who were not cognitively impaired. The amyloid produces a red-orange color.
"There's a lot more red and orange in the people that slept poorly than the people that slept well, and we define sleeping well as sleeping more than seven hours a night," Dr. Mador said.
Adequate sleep may be more of a problem for older folks than once believed.
Dr. Mador said, "It's not perceived to be as important a problem, but it it's a potential causative for Alzheimers - causative factor for Alzheimers, than it's very important."
The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says a tractor trailer crashed on Route 39, in the Town of Eagle.
One letter was about the violent altercation between Jim Ying and another employee, and in the other letter Ying described why the restaurant is closing.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
Judge Thomas Franczyk sentenced 34-year-old Alexander Wright to spend weekends in jail for the next three months after Wright pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon.
Police in Lockport say they have taken action after a threat was posted on a social media site from a student threatening to bring a gun to North Park School.