A defender from the 432nd Security Forces Squadron turns on a vehicle’s red and blue lights during their night shift at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, May 8, 2020.

A defender from the 432nd Security Forces Squadron turns on a vehicle’s red and blue lights during their night shift at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, May 8, 2020. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens

Study: Sleeping in Shifts More Likely To Lead to Neurological Disorders

Breakthroughs in fluid dynamics are revealing new clues about how odd hours affect the removal of toxins in the brain.

Got the midnight watch again? Are you flying drones in the wee hours just because it’s daylight halfway around the world? A study published earlier this month in the journal Nature, and funded in part by the Army, has found that sleeping at off hours — like many in the military and intelligence fields, not to mention millions more in all sorts of jobs — can have bad neurological effects later. 

You might think that getting seven to nine hours of sleep is all that’s necessary to preserve good neurological function. But researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that shift work disturbs the biological processes that clear toxic proteins out of your brain. 

In the same way that your body’s lymphatic system removes toxins from your bloodstream, your glymphatic system removes bad proteins from your brain. But very little is understood about the glymphatic system. It was only discovered in 2012 and it's very difficult to see and visualize because of the blood-brain barrier. 

The Army Research Office, part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, is in a unique position to fund basic research into the area, said officials who spoke to Defense One. “We’re trying to de-risk the idea of even trying to address this system because there’s so little understood about it. There really wasn’t a lot of federal funding put behind this topic besides some at NIH that specifically focuses on the clinical issues,” said Frederick Gregory, program manager of neurophysiology of Cognition at the Army Research Office. 

What the research has revealed is that the glymphatic system is deeply connected  to circadian rhythms. Travel and shift work create what Gregory calls “circadian arrhythmia, for lack of a better term. It leads to some kind of desynchronization. We don’t even know what those processes are yet... Those are some of the fundamental questions that we are looking to address in this project.” 

One of the promising new insights that the research has revealed: special star-shaped glial cells in the brain called astrocytes play an important role in fixing problems of circadian disruption. They may play a key role in meliorating those bad effects of odd-hour sleep.

New scientific breakthroughs in fluid dynamics are giving scientists for the first time a glimpse at the glymphs and how they work. 

“In fluid dynamics, one of the things that’s become a standard tool is you see the flow with particles. You put a bunch of particles in the flow and you do that carefully so the particles don’t influence the flow.”  said Matthew Munson, the program manager for fluid dynamics at the U.S. Army Research Office.

By taking images of the particles as they move, and using statistical correlations to figure out which particles moved where, scientists can map the displacement of those particles over time, which gives them what they call the velocity field.

““If you’ve got the velocity field, you can do all kinds of things to understand the physics of the flow. In a similar vein, maybe pun intended, the group we’re working with has adapted those kinds of ideas to work in the biological systems,” Munson said. 

Munson says that continuing efforts on tracing and imaging will improve understanding of those only recently revealed processes.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.