Sleep deprivation induces psychosis in healthy humans


More research telling us what we already know – lack of sleep can lead to your world starting to look and feel very strange, and people treating you as less than human-  it is after all the the basis if torture.

Psychologists at the University of Bonn are amazed by the severe deficits caused by a sleepless night

Still, we’re grateful that scientists other than those in the employ of despots have put together a study to put some data to what we already know.

The international team of researchers found significant differences in nerdy factors measured by researchers after only 24hrs of sleep deprivation.

As the site at one of the universities involved Uof Bonn says..

Twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation can lead to conditions in healthy persons similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia. This discovery was made by an international team of researchers under the guidance of the University of Bonn and King’s College London. The scientists point out that this effect should be investigated more closely in persons who have to work at night. In addition, sleep deprivation may serve as a model system for the development of drugs to treat psychosis. The results have now been published in “The Journal of Neuroscience”.

It doesn’t take a mad scientist to conjure notions that after a few weeks, months even years of sleep depriavation then things could get very strange indeed. You might even begin to see ducks.

Whatever prepulse inhibition is its been shown by this study to be inhibited by an inhibition of sleep. Actually it has  to do with startle response- and having an exaggerated startle response is one of many signifying factors of having been traumatised.

Perhaps simpler to understand is that the study shows how only 24hrs sleep deprivation leads to healthy people with no history of psychiatric diagnosis experiencing symptoms that might see them given one of the many diagnoses of psychosis.

More evidence supporting what commonsense tells us and giving the lie to the concoction that some of us are susceptible and some not.

“We conclude that SD -sleep deprivation-  in combination with the PPI -prepulse inhibition -biomarker, might be a promising translational surrogate model for model for psychosis as this method represents a possibility to partially and reversibly mimic the pathogenesis of psychotic states.”

-no kidding.

Curious that in looking for and reporting with some shock their findings – that only “24hrs of sleep deprivation induces schitzophrenia like symptoms in healthy people”
the researchers interpret that they have a model they can use to mimics the generation of psychosis in the lab – without being able to see the big fat duck quacking and laying eggs on the tip of their nose…
Maybe they’d found not a mimic but the real thing and that their research construct  “schitzophrenia” is just that: nothing more than  research construct…

But then in biomedical research…
trust me I'm a doctorIf it looks like a duck
sounds like a duck,
walks like a duck….
farts like a duck:
It must be “schitzophrenia”

…and they say we lack insight.

Published in Journal of Neuroscience, here  http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/27/9134.

The page from University of Bonn is below.
The Full Report pdf is here http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/27/9134.full.pdf

And kudos and gratitude  for the open publishing!

Press release from Dept. PSychology, University of Bonn

Sleep deprivation leads to symptoms of schizophrenia

Psychologists at the University of Bonn are amazed by the severe deficits caused by a sleepless night

Twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation can lead to conditions in healthy persons similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia. This discovery was made by an international team of researchers under the guidance of the University of Bonn and King’s College London. The scientists point out that this effect should be investigated more closely in persons who have to work at night. In addition, sleep deprivation may serve as a model system for the development of drugs to treat psychosis. The results have now been published in “The Journal of Neuroscience”.

In psychosis, there is a loss of contact with reality and this is associated with hallucinations and delusions. The chronic form is referred to as schizophrenia, which likewise involves thought disorders and misperceptions. Affected persons report that they hear voices, for example. Psychoses rank among the most severe mental illnesses. An international team of researchers under the guidance of the University of Bonn has now found out that after 24 hours of sleep deprivation in healthy patients, numerous symptoms were noted which are otherwise typically attributed to psychosis or schizophrenia. “It was clear to us that a sleepless night leads to impairment in the ability to concentrate,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ettinger of the Cognitive Psychology Unit in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bonn. “But we were surprised at how pronounced and how wide the spectrum of schizophrenia-like symptoms was.”

The scientists from the University of Bonn, King’s College London (England) as well as the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Bonn Hospital examined a total of 24 healthy subjects of both genders aged 18 to 40 in the sleep laboratory of the Department of Psychology. In an initial run, the test subjects were to sleep normally in the laboratory. About one week later, they were kept awake all night with movies, conversation, games and brief walks. On the following morning, subjects were each asked about their thoughts and feelings. In addition, subjects underwent a measurement known as prepulse inhibition.

Unselected information leads to chaos in the brain

“Prepulse inhibition is a standard test to measure the filtering function of the brain,” explains lead author Dr. Nadine Petrovsky from Prof. Ettinger’s team. In the experiment, a loud noise is heard via headphones. As a result, the test subjects experience a startle response, which is recorded with electrodes through the contraction of facial muscles. If a weaker stimulus is emitted beforehand as a “prepulse”, the startle response is lower. “The prepulse inhibition demonstrates an important function of the brain: Filters separate what is important from what is not important and prevent sensory overload,” says Dr. Petrovsky.

In our subjects, this filtering function of the brain was significantly reduced following a sleepless night. “There were pronounced attention deficits, such as what typically occurs in the case of schizophrenia,” reports Prof. Ettinger. “The unselected flood of information led to chaos in the brain.” Following sleep deprivation, the subjects also indicated in questionnaires that they were somewhat more sensitive to light, color or brightness. Accordingly, their sense of time and sense of smell were altered and mental leaps were reported. Many of those who spent the night even had the impression of being able to read thoughts or notice altered body perception. “We did not expect that the symptoms could be so pronounced after one night spent awake,” says the psychologist from the University of Bonn.

Sleep deprivation as a model system for mental illnesses

The scientists see an important potential application for their results in research for drugs to treat psychoses. “In drug development, mental disorders like these have been simulated to date in experiments using certain active substances. However, these convey the symptoms of psychoses in only a very limited manner,” says Prof. Ettinger. Sleep deprivation may be a much better model system because the subjective symptoms and the objectively measured filter disorder are far more akin to mental illnesses. Of course, the sleep deprivation model is not harmful: After a good night’s recovery sleep, the symptoms disappear. There is also a need for research with regard to persons who regularly have to work at night. “Whether the symptoms of sleep deprivation gradually become weaker due to acclimatization has yet to be investigated,” says the psychologist from the University of Bonn.

Abstract

Sleep Deprivation Disrupts Prepulse Inhibition and Induces Psychosis-Like Symptoms in Healthy Humans

Nadine Petrovsky1,*,

Ulrich EttingerAntje HillLeonie FrenzelInga MeyhöferMichael WagnerJutta Backhaus, and Veena Kumari.

Abstract

Translational biomarkers, such as prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response, are playing an increasingly important role in the development of antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia and related conditions. However, attempts to reliably induce a PPI deficit by psychotomimetic drugs have not been successful, leaving an unmet need for a cross-species psychosis model sensitive to this widely studied surrogate treatment target. Sleep deprivation (SD) might be such a model as it has previously been shown to induce PPI deficits in rats, which could be selectively prevented with antipsychotic but not anxiolytic or antidepressant compounds. Here, in a first proof-of-concept study we tested whether SD induces a deficit in PPI and an increase in psychosis-like symptoms in healthy humans. In two counterbalanced sessions, acoustic PPI and self-reported psychosis-like symptoms (Psychotomimetic States Inventory) were measured in 24 healthy human volunteers after a normal night’s sleep and after a night of total SD. SD decreased PPI (p = 0.001) without affecting the magnitude or habituation of the startle response (all p > 0.13). SD also induced perceptual distortions, cognitive disorganization, and anhedonia (all p < 0.02). Thus, extending previous rodent work, we conclude that SD, in combination with the PPI biomarker, might be a promising translational surrogate model for psychosis as this method represents a possibility to partially and reversibly mimic the pathogenesis of psychotic states.

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