Does schizophrenia cause poor sleep, or could it be the other way around?

The symptoms of sleep deprivation can go far beyond a fuzzy brain and a few yawns.

In fact, some researchers are suggesting that irregular sleep patters may actually bring about symptoms of schizophrenia. And while it's common for schizophrenics to have sleep disturbances, scientists from the University of Bristol think these problems may be an underlying cause of the condition--not an effect.

Brain activity

The researchers recorded electrical brain activity in different regions of the brain while participants slept. They found that patients with disrupted or desychronized brain activity seemed to match the brain patters of those they have found in schizophrenics.

"Sleep disturbances are well-documented in the disease, though often regarded as side effects and poorly understood in terms of their potential to actually trigger its symptoms," said Dr Ullrich Bartsch, one of the study's researchers.

Lack of sleep can also trigger schizophrenic-like symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, a distorted sense of reality, confusion and memory loss.

The parts of the brain that appear to be disrupted in disturbed sleepers--and schizophrenia patients--are the hippocampus (where memories are stored) and the frontal cortex, which is responsible for decision making.

Researchers hope the study can help health practitioners find new ways to use neurocognitive therapy on schizophrenics and those with other mental health conditions. Findings of the study are published in the journal Neuron.

Source: Zee News
Source: Times of India

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