Sure enough, technologies called fluorescence microscopy and radioactive tracing that gave the team a view of the glymphatic pathway revealed increased efficiency when the rodents slept on their sides.
Dr. Nedergaard says the results of the study serve as further proof that sleep serves a waste-eliminating function.
"Many types of dementia are linked to sleep disturbances, including difficulties in falling asleep," she says, suggesting that such disorders may be linked in some way to brain waste not being properly eliminated. "It is increasingly acknowledged that these sleep disturbances may accelerate memory loss in Alzheimer's disease."
Body posture and sleep quality should be assessed in humans as the scientific community begins to lay the groundwork for further research that could enrich our knowledge of these brain diseases, says Dr. Benveniste.
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