Scientists coolly offer a theory for alertness
Friday 04 February 1994
Drivers instinctively open the car window if they feel drowsy, but, until now, scientists did not know why keeping a cool head should keep people alert.
The latest 'theory of alertness' comes from a team at Harvard University, which describes its work in a paper published in today's issue of Science magazine.
The team, led by Professor Robert Greene of Harvard Medical School's department of psychiatry, examined a group of neurons in the brain known to control arousal and a key 'messenger' compound, called adenosine, with a role in storing energy in the body's cells. They found that adenosine also has a critical part to play in communication between one neuron and another, blocking the passage of messages. The more adenosine there is, the less active the brain will be.
'When your cells are tired, adenosine levels go up, firing slows down and the more drowsy and fatigued you feel,' he said. 'After prolonged exercise you will often feel drowsy, because the more exercise you do the more your brain heats up, and up go your adenosine levels.'
Prolonged mental activity could have the same effect, he said. Thinking hard for a long time could heat up the brain enough to induce sleepiness.
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
First full-length look is finally here
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£12500 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest independent Reprogr...
£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...
£120 - £145 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher X2 Materni...
£25000 - £32500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in SW London, this compan...