Researchers at the School of Medicine — working with mice with sleep problems similar to those experienced by people with the genetic disease neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) — believe the animals will help shed light on insomnia linked to NF1 or other factors.
Paul Shaw, PhD, a researcher at the School of Medicine, has used what he learns in fruit flies to look for markers of sleep loss in humans. But now he has reversed the process in a new paper, taking what he finds in humans back to the flies and identifying a human gene that is more active after sleep deprivation.
Rather than count sheep, drink warm milk or listen to soothing music, many insomniacs probably wish for a switch they can flick to put themselves to sleep. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, including Paul Shaw, PhD, have discovered such a switch in the brains of fruit flies.
A protein that helps the brain develop early in life can fight the mental fuzziness induced by sleep deprivation, according to Paul Shaw, PhD, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
As anyone who has ever struggled to keep his or her eyes open after a big meal knows, eating can induce sleepiness. New research in fruit flies suggests that, conversely, being hungry may provide a way to stay awake without feeling groggy or mentally challenged.