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Mar 2, 2010 4:25 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Insomnia may shrink your brain

Skipping sleep to catch up on the rest of your life?  Lying awake worrying about stuff? You could be doing long-term damage to your brain.

In research conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, researchers found that chronic insomnia leads to lower gray matter density, which compromises people's abilities to evaluate stimuli.

Dr. Ronald Kramer, a neurologist and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Colorado Neurology Institute, says this new research joins a growing body of evidence about the damage to brains at a neurological level from missing sleep.

The study, in which brain scans were used to prove the loss of gray matter density, is published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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