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Blog Feature

By: Brendan Duffy, CCSH, RPSGT on July 5th, 2018

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Garbage In, Garbage Out: Shining a New Light on a Major Discovery on Waste Management in the Sleeping Brain

The information you are about to read is new. As a matter of fact, this material is so new that many doctors are not yet aware of it. Unless they are graduating this year, physicians were taught in medical school that there are no lymphatic vessels inside the skull. Others may have assumed  that there was some type of lymphatic style system in the brain but had not been taught about the definite existence of a cranial lymphatic system in humans. Much research on this issue has happened in the past five years. In fact, much has happened in the past five months.

Five years is eons when it comes to research, given the leaps and bounds that our modern technology now makes possible. Special cameras, filters and laboratory methods are rapidly allowing us to discover answers for questions that have long bewildered researchers and physicians alike. These questions included: How does the brain clear dead cells and waste products that build up between the cells? Is this process different when we are asleep? Can the information we gather assist in developing techniques to stall or reverse dementia illnesses like Alzheimer’s? And, most importantly, how does the brain do this without assistance from the lymphatic system?

The answer is it doesn’t do this without assistance from the lymphatic system. This was just recently discovered in October 2017 by Dr. Daniel Reich and his team at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). They discovered that there is indeed evidence of a lymphatic system in the dura, the leathery outer region of the brain. This is a true game-changer.

In the rest of this article from the Q2 2018 issue of A2Zzz, Brendan Duffy, CCSH, RPSGT, delves into the age-old debate about whether a lymphatic system exists in the brain and how exactly sleep clears the brain of the toxins.

A2Zzz_Spring2018_CoverThis article  is one of four designated CEC articles in this issue of A2Zzz. AAST members who read A2Zzz and claim their credits online by the deadline can earn 2.00 AAST Continuing Education Credits (CECs) per issue – for up to 8.00 AAST CECs per year. AAST CECs are accepted by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) and the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM).

To earn AAST CECs, carefully read the four designated CEC articles and claim your credits online. You must go online to claim your credits by the deadline of Sept. 1, 2018.

After the successful completion of this educational activity, your certificates will be available in the My CEC Portal acknowledging the credits earned.

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