General, Research, Technology

A “switch” is found in the brain that makes animals and people sleep for a long time

Mice have one interesting ability - whenthey lack food, they hibernate. At the same time, their body temperature decreases significantly, and the heart begins to beat slower, which together leads to a slowdown in metabolism. Thanks to this dream, rodents can wait out times when they do not have access to food, and wake up on a more favorable day. Unfortunately, people do not have this ability, although it would obviously not hurt us. Patients who are waiting for donor organs could go into such a dream - thousands of lives would be saved. Perhaps in a couple of decades this opportunity will still appear in us, because scientists have found a region of the brain that is responsible for transferring the body to such a dream.

In theory, a person can be euthanized for 2 days by a simple effect on the brain

Sleeping animals

The ability to go to sleep is called numbness or torpor. This ability has been seen in mice, marmots,hedgehogs and many other animals. The condition these creatures go into can be compared to deep sleep. However, unlike ordinary sleep, numbness leads to a significant decrease in body temperature and a slowdown in the processes occurring inside the body. Animals do not respond to external stimuli and do not feel hunger, so they can relax in difficult times for themselves.

According to the observations of scientists, completely different animals fall into hibernation. These include bears, hedgehogs, gophers, bats and a huge number of insects. Grizzly bears hibernate for up to 200 days

Brain departments

Finding the brain department that is responsible for the translationanimals in a state of stupor, engaged scientists from the United States and Japan. According to the science publication ScienceAlert, for this they conducted an experiment in which several laboratory mice participated. With the help of chemicals, researchers activated different parts of the brain in them - instruments for tracking electrical phenomena inside organisms helped them to fix each activity. Sensors were inserted into the abdominal cavity of rodents, which sensed changes in temperature. Scientists decided that if, upon activation of a certain part of the brain, the animal’s bodies became colder, it means that they found the same “sleep switch”.

Our Yandex.Zen channel has a popular article on how to learn how to fall asleep in just two minutes

After several attempts, the desired area of ​​the brainwas finally found. It turned out to be the hypothalamus, which is very small in size and located in the lower part of the brain. When a group of cells called Q neurons was activated, laboratory mice became less active, body temperature dropped to 30 degrees Celsius, and breathing became superficial. It became extremely clear that the aforementioned are responsible for the state of numbness in animals Q neurons.

The location of the hypothalamus in the human brain

After stimulation of nerve cells, laboratorythe mice hibernated for 48 hours. Two days later, they began to recover and eventually began to behave as usual. Just in case, scientists checked to see if they had any damage to the tissues of their internal organs during this time - it turned out that everything was fine. Consequently, all the processes launched by scientists turned out to be natural, and the organisms of mice were ready for them.

If the mice have nothing to eat, they hibernate

People of the future

Now the question remains - is there such an areabrain in humans? And if so, is it possible to stimulate them and make people fall into a daze? It may seem that there is nothing in common between mice and humans. However, at the molecular level, there are a lot of similarities between us and that is why many drugs and cosmetics are first tested on laboratory mice.

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It is hoped that the researchers will not abandontheir scientific work and eventually find out exactly whether it is possible to get people to sleep with brain stimulation. Such a technology would be very useful, because in the future astronauts will obviously have to fly to distant planets, the path to which takes a lot of time. Plunged into a state of numbness, they could significantly save food and save energy for research in a completely different world.

During long space flights, astronauts will sleep. And that's great!

It turned out to be very interesting and experiment, right? There are a lot of such scientific studies, and I wrote about one of them at the end of 2019. Then scientists from the US state of Virginia taught mice to drive tiny cars. You can read more about this experiment in this material.