Brain May Flush Out Toxins After A Mental Workout: Research

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Mentally exhausted? Well, you are not alone. New findings hint at how you can flush out brain toxins. The findings suggest that people may be able to deliberately flush out waste products from their brain by staring at intense visual stimuli, Laura Lewis at Boston University in Massachusetts told New Scientist.The brain’s waste disposal system can kick in after intense neural activity. Although, previous studies have claimed that the brain may flush out toxins during sleep.Edoardo Rosario de Natale at the University of Exeter in the UK told New Scientist, “The real surprise was that they found it in awake people.”The brain’s waste disposal system has a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) being pumped into the brain and left through a network of fine tubes called the glymphatic system, which was discovered in 2012.Animal research has suggested that the fluid can flush out waste products including harmful compounds that may be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, such as beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein.Ms Lewis’s team used different tools including scanning techniques, and existing magnetic resonance imaging machines.The researchers asked 20 volunteers to watch a screen inside the scanners that displayed a pattern which can cause high brain activity: flickering black and white spiral chequerboard. New Scientist reported that the display was turned on and off at 16-second intervals for about an hour.After the pattern was displayed, volunteers experienced a rise in their blood flow. The study further said that when the screen went dark, blood flow reduced and CSF flow into the brain increased.Stephanie Williams, one of the team members at Boston University said, “It’s still an open question whether the fluid goes directly into the brain tissue or if it sloshes around in the ventricle. But we definitely think that it has an effect on the fluid in the rest of the brain.””We’re very interested now to understand the effect of these changes in fluid flow and how it intersects with brain health,” Ms Lewis said.