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Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep

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It's actually a nasal spray, snorting is a rather sensationalist headline, but interesting nonetheless.

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http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/n...eep_deprivation

In what sounds like a dream for millions of tired coffee drinkers, Darpa-funded scientists might have found a drug that will eliminate sleepiness.

A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests. The discovery's first application will probably be in treatment of the severe sleep disorder narcolepsy.

The treatment is "a totally new route for increasing arousal, and the new study shows it to be relatively benign," said Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a co-author of the paper. "It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess."

Orexin A is a promising candidate to become a "sleep replacement" drug. For decades, stimulants have been used to combat sleepiness, but they can be addictive and often have side effects, including raising blood pressure or causing mood swings. The military, for example, administers amphetamines to pilots flying long distances, and has funded research into new drugs like the stimulant modafinil (.pdf) and orexin A in an effort to help troops stay awake with the fewest side effects.

The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.

The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys' cognitive abilities but made their brains look "awake" in PET scans.

Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is "specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness" without other impacts on the brain.

Such a product could be widely desired by the more than 70 percent of Americans who the National Sleep Foundation estimates get less than the generally recommended eight hours of sleep per night (.pdf).

The research follows the discovery by Siegel that the absence of orexin A appears to cause narcolepsy. That finding pointed to a major role for the peptide's absence in causing sleepiness. It stood to reason that if the deficit of orexin A makes people sleepy, adding it back into the brain would reduce the effects, said Siegel.

"What we've been doing so far is increasing arousal without dealing with the underlying problem," he said. "If the underlying deficit is a loss of orexin, and it clearly is, then the best treatment would be orexin."

Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, said that while research into drugs for sleepiness is "very interesting," he cautioned that the long-term consequences of not sleeping were not well-known.

Both Twery and Siegel noted that it is unclear whether or not treating the brain chemistry behind sleepiness would alleviate the other problems associated with sleep deprivation.

"New research indicates that not getting enough sleep is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders," said Twery.

Still, Siegel said that Americans already recognize that sleepiness is a problem and have long treated it with a variety of stimulants.

"We have to realize that we are already living in a society where we are already self-medicating with caffeine," he said.

He also said that modafinil, which is marketed as Provigil by Cephalon and Alertec in Canada, has become widely used by healthy individuals for managing sleepiness.

"We have these other precedents, and it's not clear that you can't use orexin A temporarily to reduce sleep," said Siegel. "On the other hand, you'd have to be a fool to advocate taking this and reducing sleep as much as possible."

Sleep advocates probably won't have to worry about orexin A reaching drugstore shelves for many years. Any commercial treatment using the substance would need approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which can take more than a decade.

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Scary. I want some... but, what might some of the long term effects of widespread use of such a drug be, not just on the human organism, but also on social structures etc?

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i don't understand this... the researchers are funded by DARPA.. what is the point if they share their discovery with the world? wouldn't their intentions be to keep it for their military to use, giving them a huge advantage over rival military? isn't that the basic purpose of darpa?

anyway it's interesting you mention social impacts, i was just thinking it would have horrible long term effects on the individual.

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i don't understand this... the researchers are funded by DARPA.. what is the point if they share their discovery with the world? wouldn't their intentions be to keep it for their military to use, giving them a huge advantage over rival military? isn't that the basic purpose of darpa?

It is just a fat cash cow... they need the money so they can do even greater kinds of evil.

anyway it's interesting you mention social impacts, i was just thinking it would have horrible long term effects on the individual.

Long term effects... these would possibly be bad, but lots of people don't get more than a few hours sleep a night, especially geniuses. Of course, they are also often totally insane, so there may be a bit of a trade-off.

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i have not had a normal/good/satisfactory[any word u like] night of sleep 4 over 20 years,no exageration[my exageration is usually 30 years].

one of my issues is that very few people can conceive what this is like and i cant seem to comunicate it adequately.

so this stuff sounds good 2 me but is there a plant source/equivalent i can grow 4 myself?

t s t .

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tantra, I know this sounds obvious, but have you tried kava mate? I never sleep as well as after a cup of kava yum.

TI, almost all the good shit around us is DARPA funded. The precursor to the internet was created by DARPA (called ARPAnet), like the article says, modafinil, etc. I'm sure they judge the risk of it being used against them before publicising it. Most likely their 'enemy' countries simply don't have the capability to synthesise these chemicals?

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Found this on wikipedia:

Preliminary research has been conducted that shows potential for orexin blockers in the treatment of alcoholism. Lab rats given drugs which targeted the orexin system lost interest in alcohol despite being given free access in experiments.

Am I missing something here? Were the rats alcoholics?

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rats are like people. they used to do a little but a little didn't do it so a little got more and mowore. they just keep tryin to get a little better said a little better than befowore.

geddit? rats unlike humans don't seem to consider the risks of their addiction enough to tear themselves away, and in experiments with dopamine they literally kill themselves trying to get their fix.

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ThunderIdeal, that whole crack-addicted rats thing is a bit of bullshit. There's more fucked up details behind the "scientific" veil of "drugs are bad stay away they'll fuck you up". If you were deprived of all necessities of life (bar oxygen i think) with a needle stuck in your spine shootin dope in you, you'd be a fuckin fiend too! :P

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rats are like people. they used to do a little but a little didn't do it so a little got more and mowore. they just keep tryin to get a little better said a little better than befowore.

Now I get up around whenever... I used to get up on time.

Love the mowore/befowore thing.

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that comment was tailored just for you IB

good point mu. i see what you're saying and you're probably right, but it didn't make me think drugs were bad. it just explains why we shouldn't be blissed out all of the time - our survival rate would plummet, as in rats that witness their buddy die going for a fix, and then go ahead and try themselves anyway! some humans would probably do the same but probably not all, genetic diversity comes in handy eh? in fact some rats might not do it either.

you mention they are deprived of life necessities so i guess also ordinary pleasures, challenges and stimulus. maybe if the lab-rats had more of an interesting life they wouldn't be such fiends, and perhaps a human born in a sterile experiment would be equally one-minded about their chemical satisfaction.

also you've given a slight misrepresentation. as i recall their implants shot them with dope when the rat pressed a button or whatever. maybe they were initially shot full of dope to begin the addiction, which is pretty harsh, but afterwards the rat was given control.

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Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.

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Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.

Does Joseph wear his technicolor dreamcoat in that cage?

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Let me in brain.

Um, wa? :scratchhead:

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I rarely sleep well but do on occasion. I find that phenibut helps but you can't use it every day. About once a week works well. Another thing that helps with sleep a little and gives me a more mellow mood is 5 htp.

This stuff just sounds like another stimulant. They made the same claims about modafinil and a host of others. Said it didn't make you jittery, just more alert. Turned out to be BS in all cases though you could say they were "better" stimulants in some way. I have no interest in stims at all.

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This stuff just sounds like another stimulant. They made the same claims about modafinil and a host of others. Said it didn't make you jittery, just more alert. Turned out to be BS in all cases though you could say they were "better" stimulants in some way. I have no interest in stims at all.

I thought the whole point was that it isn't a typical stimulant, eg it only effects sleep-deprived monkeys and actually increases appetite? Confused now, is it a stimulant or not? :scratchhead:

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eg it only effects sleep-deprived monkeys
.

Yeah real confused, how did they conclude that the rested monkeys were unaffected. Like how do you measure if someone is less tired, than someone (in the case of the control monkeys) who is not tired at all :scratchhead:.

And anyway sleep is the last thing i would take drugs to avoid, it rocks. Think about it; totally relaxed, calm and comfortable looking at weird pictures generated by your subconcious, and you can hit it everyday without tolerance issues.

Ahh jesus now I sound like one of those highonlifers :puke:

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who can argue with that though? sleep is the shiznizzle babizzle wizzzle, no exageration. i feel sorry for people who can't recall their dreams, but not too sorry, cuz they dream nonetheless.

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