The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.
Neuroscientist Jeff Iliff’s sleep research follows two main paths: The first is the exploration of how the brain’s support cells, called glia, contribute to maintaining the proper environment for neuronal function and how their failure in conditions like vascular dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury leads to neurodegeneration.
The second seeks to define the basic cellular mechanisms by which brain blood flow is coordinated up and down the vascular tree. A lot to do with sleep.
Now an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, Jeff was a part of a University of Rochester Medical Center team that discovered a brain cleansing system, which they dubbed the “glymphatic system.”