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New drug reverses effects of sleep deprivation on brain

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Research in monkeys suggests that a new drug can temporarily improve performance and reverse the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain, which would be a breakthrough in helping shift workers, health professionals, military personnel and others who must function at top performance in spite of sleep deficits.

"In addition to improving performance under normal conditions, the drug restored performance that was impaired after sleep loss," said Samuel Deadwyler, Ph.D., senior researcher, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "Brain imaging revealed that one basis for the drug's effects was to reverse changes in brain patterns induced by sleep deprivation."

The study's results are reported on-line today in the journal Public Library of Science- Biology. The drug, currently known as CX717, is designed to act on a type of receptor located throughout the brain that is involved in cell-to-cell communication. It has been tested in sleep-deprived humans with positive results, according to the developer, Cortex Pharmaceuticals.

The Wake Forest research was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as part of a larger effort to mitigate or eliminate the effect of sleep deprivation on military personnel, and by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to Deadwyler, the research team included Linda J. Porrino, Ph.D., James Daunais, Ph.D., Robert Hampson, Ph.D., from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest, and Gary Rogers from Cortex Pharmaceuticals.

The researchers first tested normal, alert monkeys on a matching task similar to a video game. Each monkey was shown one clip art picture at one position on the screen, and after a delay of one to 30 seconds, picked the original out of a random display of two to six different images to get a juice reward. The monkeys were then given varying doses of the drug and re-tested. At the highest dose tested, the drug
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
22-Aug-2005


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