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Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the we-can-sleep-when-we're-dead dept.

Medicine 144

First time accepted submitter nani popoki writes "Skipping a good night's sleep can cause brain damage according to a new study. From the article: 'Are you a truck driver or shift worker planning to catch up on some sleep this weekend? Cramming in extra hours of shut-eye may not make up for those lost pulling all-nighters, new research indicates. The damage may already be done — brain damage, that is, said neuroscientist Sigrid Veasey from the University of Pennsylvania. The widely held idea that you can pay back a sizeable "sleep debt" with long naps later on seems to be a myth, she said in a study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. Long-term sleep deprivation saps the brain of power even after days of recovery sleep, Veasey said. And that could be a sign of lasting brain injury.'"

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Oh... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531115)

...Shit.

Re:Oh... (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 5 months ago | (#46531185)

Yeah, also: oh, bullshit.

If this were true I wouldn't even have a brain left.

I bet there are so many caveats here that the truth of this is almost certain to be lost in the noise. People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable. People smoke their entire lives, no cancer. Others, bang, almost right away. Some people have immense physical stamina. Some enjoy the night. Some like the day. Some think kids are the most wonderful thing in the world, others think they're the purest form of annoyance. Some people live for sex, others don't care.

And then there's the stats angle... Headline: "your chances are TWICE the nomal fella if you (fill in the blank)", when it turns out that the chances for the normal fella are one in ten thousand, and yours are now a whopping 1 in 5000. Yawn.

Nah, not buying it. Think I'll skip sleeping tonight and play with my radios. :) 80 meters is open all night, and it's pretty quiet (in the atmospheric noise sense) now!

You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

This is true (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531353)

It never said that the brain damage it gives you is as dramatic as you're making it out to be. It is actually miniscule damage. But that minuscule damage could cause very minor memory loss, such as forgetting one thing in a test or forgetting something on your shopping list.

Re:Oh... (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46531415)

People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable

There is a lot of truth in what u're sayin. But the ones u mention are statistically rare cases. I wreck my circadian rythm every now and then and yes the next day is buzzed. What the article suggests is , unlike previous belief that it's like an account where you can lose some sleep and make up for it aint entirely true. It takes a while to make up for it.

Re:Oh... (5, Informative)

milkmage (795746) | about 5 months ago | (#46531483)

did you actually RTFA?

LONG TERM sleep deprivation. As in your lifestyle - swing shifters, etc. Not the occasional amphetamine binge, or caffeine fueled cram/D&D/gaming session.

never mind the actual experiment they conducted where they found neurons destroyed in the brains of mice that were kept on a wonky sleep schedule.

our bodies are TUNED to be active during the day, sleep at night.

probably contributes to jetlag.. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org] "Although circadian rhythms are endogenous ("built-in", self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers, commonly the most important of which is daylight."

Re:Oh... (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 5 months ago | (#46531657)

Even when I'm on a normal circadian rhythm, I'm way more awake at night than during the day. Natural sunlight makes me sleepy.

Re:Oh... (1)

VVelox (819695) | about 5 months ago | (#46531841)

Congrats, you are nocturnal.

Embrace it and you will be much happier. Been professionally nocturnal for 7 years now and I love it. If you live in a big city is is actually very easy to do.

Re:Oh... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 5 months ago | (#46533949)

Embrace it and you will be much happier

Proceed with caution - This can cause issues depending on where you are in your life, or where you want to be. If you want to one day settle down with someone and have kids, then a nocturnal lifestyle is really incompatible with that. My sister is married to a nocturnal guy, and now that they have two kids it puts a real stress on their marriage. School, school events, swimming lessons, birthday parties - These regular 'family life' events all occur during the daylight hours and he's always asleep or if he does come to them he's a useless zombie...

Re:Oh... (3, Informative)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 months ago | (#46532581)

The article isn't about whether you sleep at night or not, it's about whether you skip sleep regularly.

Re:Oh... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 5 months ago | (#46532777)

What about that study where they found neurons destroyed in the brain every day just from living? And those other ones showing the brain rerouting around damage?

Re:Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533385)

never mind the actual experiment they conducted where they found neurons destroyed in the brains of mice that were kept on a wonky sleep schedule.

our bodies are TUNED to be active during the day, sleep at night.

In Mice? And how many times have we been through this? Mice are not humans and experiments done in mice are not reliable. Do you bother to read the numerous articles, and then read the comments with citations proving that experiments done with mice and then done in humans are unpredictable? You'll get a different result in a human then you did in the mice.

""I bet there are so many caveats here that the truth of this is almost certain to be lost in the noise. People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable. People smoke their entire lives, no cancer. Others, bang, almost right away. Some people have immense physical stamina. Some enjoy the night. Some like the day. Some think kids are the most wonderful thing in the world, others think they're the purest form of annoyance. Some people live for sex, others don't care.""

If you read quote from fyngyrz, you'll note that "in known human experiments" a person emotional state is tied into how there brains, and overall health, keep them healthy and happy. SO it is completely reasonable that a person who is a night owl, is far happier then if he/she was a day person.

Something else you fail at, and the people that modded this up. Are stress levels... Or did we forget how that also destroys healthy brains. I can promise you that stress levels no matter what time of day you prefer were ignored in this latest idiot experiment..

Re:Oh... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46533399)

LONG TERM sleep deprivation. As in your lifestyle - swing shifters, etc.

So what about people who permanently work 3rd shift? Is it just a problem for people who keep shifting their schedule around?

Re:Oh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533853)

did you actually RTFA?

LONG TERM sleep deprivation. As in your lifestyle - swing shifters, etc.

Yeah...no. Been on a 3-5 awake 1-2 asleep schedule for about a decade and a half now, no ill effects - my productivity has actually increased. The only really noticable thing is if I hit 5 days I might become narcoleptic and pass out wherever so I try to keep it to 3.

Re:Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531513)

What makes you think that you still have a brain? :-)

Re:Oh... (2)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 5 months ago | (#46531575)

You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

A pity superstition (like stupidity in general) isn't painful. Stupid should hurt, dammnit.

Re:Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533477)

I can imagine that if stupid did hurt people wouldn't get unstupid, but instead cry "God, why have you forsaken me!" all the time. That's how this type of person usually solves problems. Essentially, making stupid hurt wouldn't solve a bloody thing. Of course, it would be entertaining still :)

Re:Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531633)

You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

Nah. But attempting to critically read every single published study that purports to authoritatively declare what causes brain damage, eventually will.

Re:Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531659)

I bet there are so many caveats here that the truth of this is almost certain to be lost in the noise.

My first thought was nutrition is way more of a controlling factor than length of time spent in the condition, because nutrition controls the severity of differences that would be perceived as damage. Much like saying boiling things absolutely destroys everything without talking about whether boiling is room temperature or whether we are boiling water or something else...
More to the point of nutrition, indeed when the human body needs sleep we undergo chemical changes, but our entire existence is just one really long chemical reaction, and the biggest contributing factor is what chemical fuel is being dumped into it. Eating the proper foods and perhaps even yes drugs, could very easily conceivably mitigate and/or prevent any kind of damage caused by lack of sleep, up until the point that those mitigating elements start to have consequences themselves. My gut tells me the average human can go about 36 hours with the proper nutrition and not get any permenant damage. Above average humans probably max out at 48 or so. Not that it couldn't be done after that, even pleasantly, just not without causing permenant tissue damage as described in TFA.
captcha: mesquite. mmm fried brains...

Re:Oh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531675)

You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Judging by this post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531743)

The article is true! Really.

People smoke their entire lives, no cancer. Others, bang, almost right away.

Really? It's the damn probability that increases a LOT. It will never be 100%. Also, some(most?) cancers that start just die before anyone notices.
I hope your parents brain doesn't get more damage, as he just referenced to science as superstition, and thinks his own beliefs and anedoctan evidence is better. The article claims brain damage. That doesn't have to be very critical brain damage. Even very bad brain damage can heal very well. A relative of mine lost her ability to walk and speak. Now she walks almost normally, and speaks a little also.

Re:Oh... (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46531879)

You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

Fortunately a lucky rabbit's foot gives 100% protection against this effect.

Re:Oh... (2)

gutnor (872759) | about 5 months ago | (#46531981)

I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt

Well taking that much salt will clog your arteries and you will die in horrible suffering studies say :-)

Re:Oh... (2, Informative)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 5 months ago | (#46532155)

Mostly, I agree with what you say. But I do believe that long term sleep deprivation is not healthy. I once read a believable article claiming that sleep clears the brain of waste chemicals, kind of like going to the bathroom. Without losing that waste it starts to build up and poison you.

Other than that, it's also rather straightforward self-experience. If you feel like shit after pulling 24hrs it's probably because shit is happening to you. Just like when drinking too much alcohol.

anecdote=truth (0)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 5 months ago | (#46532633)

Science is always trying to catch up...
to me.
I figured out a long time ago, the sleep you miss is merely deducted from your lifespan. You can't get it back.

No shit ! (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46531281)

Not all of us like to pull all-nighters.

For some of us, our brains refuse to stop going overdrive until our mission / project is over.

Since my college days, whenever I am in a mission for something, my brain kicks up to the overdrive, and even if I sleep, it still keep churning and churning, resulting in me having really lousy sleeps, with imageries of what I was doing, what I am going to do, what I ought be doing (some times they are " hints " from the sub-conscious) kept on flashing up in my dreams.

For example: I may be in the middle of a very difficult and confusing debugging job.

After non-stop eyeballing the codes, countless re-and re-re-running of the resulting compilations, I get tired and hit the sack.

But in my dreams, images of the screens popping up, with texts (source code) scrolling up and down and sideways, with my "dream self" doing the "virtual debugging" inside my dreams.

It's a goddamn fucking torture, man.

That is why sometimes I rather pull an all-nighters to get the job done, rather than having those un-ending-loop of imagery invading my sleep.

Re:No shit ! (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 5 months ago | (#46531337)

Agreed, if I have to pull an all-nighter, then someone else could be subject to permanent damage.

Re:No shit ! (4, Interesting)

gargleblast (683147) | about 5 months ago | (#46531371)

with my "dream self" doing the "virtual debugging"

Then there are the nights you do real debugging.

I modified an overnight cron job that downloaded sales from and uploaded prices to shops. Woke up at 2AM thinking "that program will not work". Logged in remotely and looked over a plethora of failing jobs. Stopped them, edited the program, set it running again, watched it run for a while and then went back to bed. What had I remembered? Not putting a double-semicolon on a new entry in a case-esac statement.

Ah! Dream Coding... (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#46531393)

I remember dreaming at a keyboard, and when I snapped awake, I had found that I had typed words from my dream into my code. I decided that it was time to go home at that point.

Re: Ah! Dream Coding... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531509)

Did it compile?

Re: Ah! Dream Coding... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#46533335)

Did it compile?

That wasn't the kind of dream I was having.

Re:Ah! Dream Coding... (1)

Kz (4332) | about 5 months ago | (#46533333)

I remember dreaming at a keyboard, and when I snapped awake, I had found that I had typed words from my dream into my code. I decided that it was time to go home at that point.

it's more embarrassing to dream-type the commit message and get just wake enough to do "git push" so everybody can see it. (real story, less than a week old)

Re:Ah! Dream Coding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533645)

I was sleeping after pulling an allnighter in front of the computer. Someone woke me. I said "Enter Password:"

Re:No shit ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533163)

and even if I sleep, it still keep churning and churning

I had the same issue, I found it was what I was eating and how I exercised. I stop eating anything with sugar, citric acid, or caffeine after 8. Try to eat before 7. With a bit of exercise. If I do that my body naturally falls into a sleep by 12:30 (usually 11:30). I wake up around 8-9 very refreshed and usually bang out whatever bug was killing me last night.

You are not falling completely asleep. You are not getting past your dreaming state. So you brain is still jacked up.

For me taking a tums at 11 is better than any sleeping pill. As I was getting acid reflux from eating fast food garbage.

tl;dr Wind down. Its good for you.

Re:No shit ! (2)

advantis (622471) | about 5 months ago | (#46533595)

My most infuriating experience was when I solved a problem I had at work, it compiled, it did everything it needed to do, but when I went to commit it to SVN I had no Internet. After a few attempts, I realised I was dreaming and I woke up. And I had to type all that again when I got into the office.

Re:Oh... (1)

Scragglykat (1185337) | about 5 months ago | (#46533539)

I was try to refute these claims but all I can muster is "derp derp derp" after spending the past month playing Rust instead of sleeping.

sounds implausible to me (3, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#46531117)

Sleep deprivation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "an all-nighter" would cause permanent brain damage in any meaningful sense.

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531137)

The actual affect is far more likely marginal, and only after you push it for a long time.

Because if it caused brain damage, I wouldn't be able to type after my years of rolling sleep deprivation.

Now the damage it does to your heart, that's real.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46531153)

And if it did cause damage, then wouldn't an MRI or such be able to show the damage?

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531233)

It could possibly reveal some forms of damage but it's certainly not a definitive test for all types of brain damage... There are a lotttt of variables in the human brain that an MRI can't reveal like thought patterns and neurotransmitter levels and production.
All an MRI really reveals is a map of blood/cerebrospinal fluid flow. It would also reveal any foreign bodies in the brain like tumors or blood clots or potential aneurysms.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46531269)

Probably not unless it was acute or traumatic damage - individual neurons don't show up in modern MRIs, much less individual dendrites, and if the damage is minor and internal to the cells it would be essentially impossible to detect at all with modern technology.

Re:sounds implausible to me (5, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 5 months ago | (#46531159)

Sleep deprivation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "an all-nighter" would cause permanent brain damage in any meaningful sense.

I doubt a single all-nighter is going to cause a measurable change to your long term brain function. However, anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

Regarding human evolution; people generally sleep when it is dark. And with no unnatural sources of light, historically sleep deprivation would not have been anywhere near as common as it has become in modern society.

The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 5 months ago | (#46531669)

> anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable
> in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

The article itself (or at least the blurb) is sensationalist in its use of "brain damage".

If I never did any all nighters, ok, maybe I would have avoided some "measurable" but insignificantly small amount of damage, but I would have failed some important exams and missed some project deadlines.

Similarly, I won't be giving up drink just because some study says it's not good for the brain.

Re:The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (1)

careysub (976506) | about 5 months ago | (#46533921)

> anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable > in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

Ummm... years of hard exercise most definitely does cause permanent injury [wikipedia.org] , Google "overuse injury" to see as many links on it at as you care to read. Athletes are forced to end careers all the time for this reason. And then there is Osteoarthritis [wikipedia.org] which causes permanent disability due to bone damage from overuse.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 months ago | (#46532683)

Just to back up the parent, TFA is not talking about one all-nighter, but does say that a few days on a "shift work" sleep schedule (whatever that is) has a dramatic effect. To me this reads as if it's more about getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis, rather than "missing sleep."

Bear in mind, the linked article is from CNN, and CNN is NOT known for their deep thoughts or complete, or even accurate, coverage.

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 5 months ago | (#46532755)

CNN is NOT known for their deep thoughts or complete, or even accurate, coverage.

But the Fox tabloid is, right?

Re:sounds implausible to me (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 5 months ago | (#46531199)

Being eaten by tigers was also common and natural. Natural is not a synonym for healthy.

This study is a long way from proving anything, but I suspect a lot of people will just dismiss it entirely because they don't want to believe it.

Re:sounds implausible to me (3, Informative)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 5 months ago | (#46531215)

About all that could be really said is that any damage from sleep deprivation didn't tend to kill our ancestors before they bred.

Re:sounds implausible to me (5, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 5 months ago | (#46531277)

"Natural is not a synonym for healthy."

Unless, of course, you are the tiger.

Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531775)

If I have understood correctly it might not have been very healthy for any animal to eat humans. Most other animals won't get all worked up and decide it's time to get rid of all tigers aroud their home turf, then gather as a mob and come hunting for you. I'm pretty certain humans have been vengefull bastards for a long, long time.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#46531471)

Being eaten by tigers was also common and natural. Natural is not a synonym for healthy.

Saying that "sleep deprivation is common and natural" is a shorthand for saying that "sleep deprivation has exerted evolutionary pressure on humans frequently and since prehistoric times". If it caused significant and permanent brain damage, it would have reduced human fitness and been selected against, in particular since we know that there are many mammals that can deal with sleep deprivation just fine. Hence, it is implausible that sleep deprivation causes significant and permanent brain damage.

Are you really so biologically illiterate that you need this spelled out for you? Are you really so biologically illiterate that you are confusing my statement with the common "natural is good" fallacy? Geez.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 5 months ago | (#46531621)

Are you really so biologically illiterate that you are confusing my statement with the common "natural is good" fallacy? Geez.

Are you really so humour-impaired that you are mistaking his witticism for serious debate? :-D

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531807)

"sleep deprivation has exerted evolutionary pressure on humans frequently and since prehistoric times". If it caused significant and permanent brain damage, it would have reduced human fitness and been selected against

When I look at humans in general, it does not look to me that impaired brain function impairs their reproductive faculties.

Au contraire....

The saying "f*cking your brains out" is not coined for nothing.

Re:sounds implausible to me (3, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 5 months ago | (#46532411)

And it's implausible that people being eaten by tigers cause death, right?

There's nothing wrong with the GP's analogy. Sleep deprivation may have been common, but it's not like every human being suffered from it. As a result, like numerous other natural factors, from the plague, the numerous historical waves of lead poisoning (ancient rome, 19th Century plumbing, 20th century car exhausts) to "being eaten by tigers", the mere fact we've survived it doesn't mean that it's harmless.

But yes, it's (probably) exerted some minor evolutionary pressure, though not the pressure you appear to think (and you're claiming the GP is "biologically illiterate"?)

This is about minor but very real brain damage. If our bodies have not found a way to adapt to childhood lead poisoning, which has a much greater affect on the brain, then it's pretty safe to assume that human beings have survived in spite of this, not finding some way to make our bodies stronger. A more plausible solution to how we've survived as a species despite numerous natural attacks on our ability to think clearly is that we've evolved, or always were able, to deal with a certain amount of poor thinking, to route around brain damage rather than fix it.

Is a slightly impaired brain going to prevent the person whose brain it is reproducing? Some would argue the opposite. Will it prevent that person from living? No, because they still function enough to perform the basic tasks required in any society to live, and because the social constructs we've evolved to want and demand provide a minimum level of support for every person. Will it make it harder for that person to bring up their offspring? No, again because they'll still function enough to perform the basic tasks required in any society to live, and because of the aforementioned social constructs.

The tigers, if anything, are more likely to have had a significant evolutionary effect, in that nobody survives being eaten by one, and so it would stand to reason that we've developed more traits related to avoiding being eaten by tigers than about repairing or preventing brain damage.

Just like Nicotine/smoking (2)

slew (2918) | about 5 months ago | (#46531529)

I know some folks who like smoking so much that they dismiss any information that says it's bad for you because they don't want to believe it. Then again, some folks smoke until their 90s, never get emphysema, and eventually die of old age (knew one of them).

I also know some folks who appear to be addicted to all-nighters (like a runner's high, they apparently get some sort of high from staying up too long)... Then again, most of them smoke too, so maybe there's some sort of correlation.

Me, I'm not taking any chances on smoking or any unnecessary all-nighters. Sadly, unlike cigarettes, sometimes all-nighters are necessary (but not many).

Re:Just like Nicotine/smoking (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 5 months ago | (#46532393)

Approximately one third of smokers never show symptoms related to smoking associated diseases. The rest die of lung cancer. No-one can predict which you'll be. The question is, how lucky do you feel?

Re:Just like Nicotine/smoking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533961)

"I know some folks who like smoking so much that they dismiss any information that says it's bad for you because they don't want to believe it."

It has nothing to do with not wanting to believe it - they do believe it but theyve made the decision to take the risk anyway, which is their choice to make.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46531747)

I suspect a lot of people will dismiss it entirely because it was done on mice, and humans are not big mice.

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531323)

Honestly even the summary sounded benign compared to the headline. I'd imagine the real research is less alarmist more so

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 5 months ago | (#46531741)

And mouse evolution, since this study was done in mice.

When they replicate this study in humans I'll pay attention.

Humans are not big mice.

Re: sounds implausible to me (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 5 months ago | (#46531827)

But never in human history has the brain been more important. Perhaps a little damage back hundreds of years equates to a lot of damege in the modern era. Sleep deprivation to catch extra food at the expense of brain power may have been advantageous but brain wastage to play that new game may not be so beneficial.

Re:sounds implausible to me (5, Funny)

infolation (840436) | about 5 months ago | (#46531945)

Anyone who's had children knows that sleep deprivation, and all-nighters, are routine during the first two years.

Although, arguably, bringing up kids involves a certain amount of inherent brain damage anyway.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 months ago | (#46532691)

I'm sorry that you're modded "funny" because I think you weren't joking.

Re:sounds implausible to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46532203)

I doubt it, really. I doubt the permanent damage as well, but I doubt that being a reason if it were true.

The saying "What doesn't kill a human makes them stronger" doesn't really apply much when it comes to nature and health.

The chances of being woken at night back in our old early days are a freak occurrence, most likely. Just like our exposure to stressful situations were, or our massive increase in fats, sugars and proteins. The body doesn't know how to handle these effectively when they are a constant or semi-constant.
These things won't be properly dealt with for at least a good few generations down the line. (and that is only the beginnings of a hundred generation change)
Fun thing is, it might even result in a hugely noticeable feature deviation in human bodies from all around the globe over the next hundred generations if we keep at it like this. I just hope by then that racism has died out.

We do know the body is capable of repairing an insane amount of bodily damage. But there are some things that they cannot repair effectively, if at all.
The brain and heart are two of the largest (both physically and statistically) when it comes to repair problems. Varies so much from person to person that it makes me wonder if those that can repair are seemingly newly evolved abilities that we haven't really catalogued as such and just put it down to fluke. But I am not a geneticist so I can't comment on that bit. I just follow the industry.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

ketomax (2859503) | about 5 months ago | (#46532255)

Benjamin Franklin said that there will be plenty of time to sleep once you are dead. What he did not mention was that this abundance of time won't be far away if you keep following his advice.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 5 months ago | (#46533431)

Someone didn't read the study.

Our brain does have natural defenses against sleep deprivation. A single all-nighter would produce no brain damage because of a specific protein the brain creates to protect it from damage. Repeated sleep deprivation (aka chronic sleep deprivation) leads to brain damage because this protection mechanism stops functioning.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 5 months ago | (#46533461)

Addendum: humans also didn't evolve with artificial lighting or even something like torches. When night time hit there wasn't much else to do but sleep.

Re:sounds implausible to me (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#46533451)

Food depreciation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "starving" would cause permanent damage in any meaningful sense.

Re:sounds implausible to you (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 5 months ago | (#46533493)

Sounds like you are another one of the vast majority of folks who simply lack self awareness or perception. Try paying attention, for a change.

Well that's lovely (5, Funny)

jonnythan (79727) | about 5 months ago | (#46531125)

... as I read this at 1 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. Heh. "Tomorrow."

Re:Well that's lovely (2)

stoploss (2842505) | about 5 months ago | (#46531885)

... as I read this at 1 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. Heh. "Tomorrow."

...as I read this at 4 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. At which point does one simply write off sleep for the night if solely because getting a small amount feels worse than no sleep at all?

Dec 2013 Research (5, Informative)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about 5 months ago | (#46531129)

Dec2103 Cut and Paste from internet (I didn't record where): Sleep deprivation has long been established as a helpful tool for the treatment of patients suffering from depression. However, how and why it works are still unknown. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have indicated that large-scale brain network connectivity, especially in the so-called default mode network, seems to be changed in depression. Bosch et al. investigated whether sleep deprivation could influence this brain connectivity. They discovered that sleep deprivation decreased functional connectivity between a brain area called the posterior cingulate cortex and the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, connectivity between the dorsal nexus, a region that plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of depression, and two areas within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was increased. These sleep deprivation–induced changes in resting-state connectivity indicate a shift in dominance from a more affective to a more cognitive network. This shift toward improved cognitive control should be particularly beneficial in depressed patients who suffer from rumination, negative anticipation, and excessive feelings of guilt and shame.

Re:Dec 2013 Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531331)

It's not a miracle cure. Sleep deprivation at the wrong time to the wrong person can also contribute to the development or worsening of depression.

Re:Dec 2013 Research (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46532071)

I have also noticed that mild sleep deprivation (sleeping for only 6 hours for example) can temporarily make me feel better if I have been feeling a bit "moody" lately.

Re:Dec 2013 Research (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 months ago | (#46532707)

Very interesting. So what they are saying is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the "sleep loss" story. Imagine that -- the world is not black & white!

Thanks for the post!

As bad as a night of drinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531133)

Staying up all night drinking? If in hindsight it still seems smart, you may have brain damage...

but damn, was it fun? I'm asking.

Re:As bad as a night of drinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531187)

If I got laid, it was worth ever dead brain cell! Way to take one for the team!

Re:As bad as a night of drinking? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46532095)

Staying up all night drinking? If in hindsight it still seems smart, you may have brain damage...

Tell me about it. By pulling a beer binge 1-2 times a week I got a nasty brain fog and couldn't think clearly during challenging tasks anymore (programming, schoolwork, etc). Also alcohol wrecks the quality of sleep, making the problem worse. Finally been able to curb that stupid addiction.

but damn, was it fun? I'm asking.

Yeah, there's always many sides to these things. It's really whether you ask from a doctor or a philosopher. Drinking can indeed be fun and relaxing too. And the truck driver gets his income by pulling the crazy all-nighters.

I hope everyone could gain as clear mind as possible.

now they tel me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531145)

i hav ben workin ovr nights fer many years an it hasnt fected my inteligents one bit

Well Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531171)

They hope their research will result in medicines that will help people working odd hours cope with the consequences of irregular sleep.

That medicine exists today ... it's called "Oxycodone"... ;)

Re:Well Duh! (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 5 months ago | (#46531179)

More like Seroquel

Shift Diff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531201)

... so, they put laboratory mice on a wonky sleep schedule that mirrors that of shift workers.

I hope the mice got shift diff pay...

Sleep deprivation != shift work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531203)

I used to work 2nds and I got plenty of sleep. I had black-out shades. I got to bed by 2 AM and slept in until 10 AM the next day. I was never sleep deprived, just morning deprived and I didn't really miss them that much.

All night to "cram" for tests though, I only did that a few times and I can see how it might cause some brain damage. I doubt it killed 25% of anything though. Otherwise me and everybody I studied with probably wouldn't have graduated.

In mice (5, Insightful)

EvilSS (557649) | about 5 months ago | (#46531285)

Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage in mice. The study was done on mice, not people. While it's an interesting first step, it is not in anyway conclusive that the results also apply to humans.

Re:In mice (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | about 5 months ago | (#46531643)

Wait! You're right! The study is seriously flawed! Mice already stay up all night; they're nocturnal by nature. So how could pulling "all-nighters" cause demonstrable brain damage in animals that have a natural predilection for so doing?

Re:In mice (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531825)

How many mice do you see teaching at universities? Zero. That should be evidence enough that staying up all night causes brain damage.

Re:In mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531661)

Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage in mice. The study was done on mice, not people. While it's an interesting first step, it is not in anyway conclusive that the results also apply to humans.

That begs the question, how did they deprive the sleep? Humans can give their cooperation, and deprive themselves of sleep for a study like this. For mice, you'd have to do it either chemically or what, poke them with a stick? Doesn't that need a control too?

what about me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531373)

I am a night owl. My theory is Darwinian: a population with some members awake all night that act as guards has a higher survival value over another populace that all go to bed at the same time.

The original post leads me to one of two possible conclusions:
1. it is wrong
2. when I was about 15 (I'm now 60+) I had to have had an IQ of around....(hmm, carry the 3, add..square root of 12...) well, 900.

Explanation for subgenii: Since my current IQ is, well, not a problem, if pulling all-nighters causes brain damage I must have started off very high to end up where I am now.

Further reading: Asylum, (1942) A.E. Von Vogt

Re:what about me? (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 5 months ago | (#46531489)

If a population had a few night owls that stood guard all night, there is no reason why those 'owls' couldn't have slept in the back of the cave during the day.

Also, sleep deprivation may be less of an issue for those genetically inclined to need less sleep. Lack of sleep may take its toll in a different way than purely lowering the IQ of those participants. And clearly, for some, there may be no obvious issues at all. A slightly reduced life expectancy may be testable, but if something unrelated kills you first, you'll never know.

Re: what about me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531559)

Darwinian evolution does not describe group selection. Group selection is not a widely accepted theory of speciation because the genetic basis is still disputed.

Basically, if you're a night owl it's probably because being a night owl was advantageous to one self and their direct descendants. Not because it improved the fitness of your group.

Re: what about me? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 5 months ago | (#46532505)

Well yeah. The night owl was up on guard duty while Gronk The Mammoth-Chaser was doing his lumber mill impression in the back of the cave, and Gronk's wife, kept up by the snoring, wanted "someone to talk to."

consequences for detainees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531553)

I agree with previous posters that this is inconclusive and requires further investigation, which I hope to see. If this turns out to be true then it should lead to new outcries over the treatment of detainees such as those in Gitmo.

Bullshit Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531555)

What is this even doing on slashdot? This is not science, this is nonsense

It's like Doom on Ketamine, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531595)

It's obvious,

I myself, suffer from a massive condition called "Season Of Birth Disorder" which increases mental ill-health by 5% for those esp. born in between Jan-March (inc.) Of which sleep depravity is a large symptom thereof.
I wouldn't mind but, well I used-to get told off for having the bedroom light on after 11PM.
Whereas these days, what with so many 'discourse' websites - it all gets abit : hashtag-meta.

Now into my 5th day with only 4 hours sleep , concurrently (meaning each day , I thunk) .. and frankly as far as Libido, I care not.
Best part, I bought a Olympus DS-7000 & a dozen SD cards last summer - plus 120x blank A5 books, purely for this occasion. - just to see what 'corkers of ideas' the online Ted|videos will deliver.
> my sincerest advise to anyone in this #noF**ksGiven, state : is to invest in a proper set of RS170 wireless headphones - just , if nothing else, for the chillOut distraction of otherwise learning , well, over- stimuli .

Re:It's like Doom on Ketamine, though. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46532105)

What?

The older I get the more it kills me (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#46532189)

The older I get (I'm 47), the more staying up late affects me. And by staying up late, I mean anything past about 11:30. Staying up after midnight literally makes me feel ill the next day -- my joints ache and I generally feel unwell.

When I was in my 20s I had to make myself go to bed -- listening to the BBC at midnight was my usual routine, and getting up at 6-630 was no problem.

"could" be a sign (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#46532195)

I dunno, Mr Researcher Man, isn't it your job to SHOW that it's a sign of brain damage?

yuo fa1l it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46532635)

one Here b0t 8ow [goat.cx]

cite your source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46532995)

I'd like to hear more about the evidence that supports this discovery... what is the "energy" source you lose? Does this influence memory consolidation? What is the difference in sleep oscillations/brain waves during catch-up sleep compared to normal?

It's a tradeoff... (1)

gwstuff (2067112) | about 5 months ago | (#46533851)

It's no surprise that cutting down on sleep has negative effects. The short term effects have been evaluated experimentally - people without sleep are less capable of resisting junk food, irritable and less alert.

The strange thing is that there's *never* been an attempt to characterize the advantages. I saw some notes in the posts above about experimenting with radios, listening to the BBC, etc. which are things that probably hone your mental abilities. If you pull all nighters studying to get into a good school and succeed, then you spend the next 4 years interacting with smart people and good professors.

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