In a person with food allergy, the immune system reacts abnormally to a component of a food—sometimes producing a life-threatening response. SinceNIAID has substantially increased its support for food allergy research, from basic research in allergy and immunology to epidemiological and observational studies to identify risk factors and to clinical trials that are testing new strategies to prevent and treat food allergy. Read on to learn more about food allergy and the steps NIAID is taking to address this growing problem. Food allergy negatively influences the quality of life of patients and their families and is potentially life-threatening to those affected.
Where can I get more information? Introduction Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it. Quality sleep — and getting enough of it at the right times -- is as essential to survival as food and water.
Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells neurons communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.
Everyone needs sleep, but its biological purpose remains a mystery. Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body — from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.
Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Sleep is a complex and dynamic process that affects how you function in ways scientists are now beginning to understand.
This booklet describes how your need for sleep is regulated and what happens in the brain during sleep.
Anatomy of Sleep Several structures within the brain are involved with sleep. The hypothalamus, a peanut-sized structure deep inside the brain, contains groups of nerve cells that act as control centers affecting sleep and arousal. Within the hypothalamus is the suprachiasmatic nucleus SCN — clusters of thousands of cells that receive information about light exposure directly from the eyes and control your behavioral rhythm.
Some people with damage to the SCN sleep erratically throughout the day because they are not able to match their circadian rhythms with the light-dark cycle. The brain stem, at the base of the brain, communicates with the hypothalamus to control the transitions between wake and sleep.
The brain stem includes structures called the pons, medulla, and midbrain. Sleep-promoting cells within the hypothalamus and the brain stem produce a brain chemical called GABA, which acts to reduce the activity of arousal centers in the hypothalamus and the brain stem.
The thalamus acts as a relay for information from the senses to the cerebral cortex the covering of the brain that interprets and processes information from short- to long-term memory.
During most stages of sleep, the thalamus becomes quiet, letting you tune out the external world.
But during REM sleep, the thalamus is active, sending the cortex images, sounds, and other sensations that fill our dreams. People who have lost their sight and cannot coordinate their natural wake-sleep cycle using natural light can stabilize their sleep patterns by taking small amounts of melatonin at the same time each day.
The basal forebrain, near the front and bottom of the brain, also promotes sleep and wakefulness, while part of the midbrain acts as an arousal system. Release of adenosine a chemical by-product of cellular energy consumption from cells in the basal forebrain and probably other regions supports your sleep drive.
Caffeine counteracts sleepiness by blocking the actions of adenosine. The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure involved in processing emotions, becomes increasingly active during REM sleep. Each is linked to specific brain waves and neuronal activity.
Stage 1 non-REM sleep is the changeover from wakefulness to sleep.
During this short period lasting several minutes of relatively light sleep, your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow, and your muscles relax with occasional twitches. Your brain waves begin to slow from their daytime wakefulness patterns.
Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep. Your heartbeat and breathing slow, and muscles relax even further.
Your body temperature drops and eye movements stop. Brain wave activity slows but is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity. You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.
Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep.
Your muscles are relaxed and it may be difficult to awaken you.Official website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is one of the world's foremost medical research centers. An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH is the Federal focal point for health and medical research.
The NIH website offers health information for the public, scientists, researchers, medical professionals, patients, educators, and students. Jan 09, · Introduction Since , more than individuals pursuing PhDs in biomedical research have taken advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program (OxCam).
This program offers access to mentors and resources from our three collaborating institutions: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the. Aug 21, · Introduction The Research Project Grant (R01) is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH.
The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland Oct 22, · Introduction. Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it.
Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times -- is as essential to survival as food and water.
National health statistics reports; no Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ, Barnes PM, Nahin RL. Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, – National health statistics reports; no Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health .
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead Federal agency for research on mental illnesses. The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.