In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, all too often we hear people say they haven’t gotten enough rest and plan to “catch up” on sleep over the weekend. However, new research suggests chronic sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought and may even lead to loss of brain cells .
According to new research, learning becomes more difficult as we get older because our brains get too full for new information. This may be due, in part, to finding that with advanced age we get less sleep during the stage in which we don’t dream. Both studies are reported in the prestigious Nature family of journals.
Researchers have identified a common gene variant that is responsible for a person’s tendency to be an early riser or a night owl. This common genetic variant also helps determine the time of day a person is most likely to die. The findings appear in the November 2012 issue of the Annals of Neurology.
Rabies is a serious — almost always fatal — viral infection of the central nervous system. The virus is present in the saliva of infected mammals, and is most often spread via a bite wound. Raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes are the most common carriers of rabies in the United States, though any mammal, including domestic dogs and cats, can become infected and transmit the disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps statistics on rabies incidence in the U.S., and notes that cases are quite rare. Only one or two individuals a year become infected with the rabies virus, and prophylaxis (vaccination post-exposure, but prior to the development of symptoms) is almost always effective.