theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Community News Network

October 1, 2013

Brains of 'night owls' differ from others'

They say the early bird catches the worm, but night owls may be missing far more than just a tasty snack. Researchers have discovered evidence of structural brain differences that distinguish early risers from people who like to stay up late. The differences might help explain why night owls seem to be at greater risk of depression.

About 10 percent of people are morning people, or larks, and 20 percent are night owls, with the rest falling in between. Your status is called your chronotype.

Previous studies have suggested that night owls experience worse sleep, feel more tiredness during the day and consume greater amounts of tobacco and alcohol. This has prompted some to suggest that they are suffering from a form of chronic jet lag.

Jessica Rosenberg at RWTH Aachen University in Germany and colleagues used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging to scan the brains of 16 larks, 23 night owls and 20 people with intermediate chronotypes. They found a reduction in the integrity of night owls' white matter — brain tissue largely made up of fatty insulating material that speeds up the transmission of nerve signals — in areas associated with depression.

"We think this could be caused by the fact that late chronotypes suffer from this permanent jet lag," Rosenberg says, although she cautions that further studies are needed to confirm cause and effect.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Stocks
Poll

Who do you blame more for the trouble in Gaza?

The Israelis
Hamas
     View Results