After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen

Monday, 7 May 2012
Insomnia as a Treatment for Depression

insomnie-depressionLack of sleep has a beneficial effect on depression. However counterintuitive this finding may seem, it has been well documented in more than 75 studies published over the past 40 years. One of the reasons that sleep deprivation is not used more extensively in the treatment of depression is that prolonged insomnia can also have significant negative effects on cognitive functioning. Another reason is that insomnia-induced improvements in mood dissipate rapidly when the individuals eventually and inevitably catch up on their sleep.

Nevertheless, the antidepressant effect of insomnia is so robust, takes hold so quickly, and offers so much promise that many studies on it are now in progress.

Some of these studies seem to indicate that the activity of a particular brain structure, the anterior cingulate cortex, which is higher than normal in depressed people, becomes calmer after a period of insomnia.

Other studies have been inspired by the observation that one category of medications used to treat depression—tricyclic antidepressants—have the side effect of disturbing REM sleep. Researchers are investigating whether insomnia may produce its antidepressant effect in the same way, by reducing the length of the REM part of the sleep cycle. Genetic data tend to support this hypothesis: the risks of depression are greater in families with the rare genetic trait of experiencing much more REM sleep than normal.

i_lien In Sleepless Nights, a Hope for Treating Depression
a_lien Sleep deprivation as a model experimental antidepressant treatment: findings from functional brain imaging
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