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Biotech Science

Snortable Drug 'Replaces' Sleep For Monkeys In Trials 236

Posted by Zonk
from the could-definitely-have-used-this-in-college dept.
sporkme writes "A DARPA-funded research project at UCLA has wrapped up a set of animal trials testing the effects of inhalation of the brain chemical orexin A, a deficiency of which is a characteristic of narcolepsy. Monkeys were deprived of sleep, and then given a shot of the compound. 'The study ... found orexin A not only restored monkeys' cognitive abilities but made their brains look "awake" in PET scans. Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is 'specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness' without other impacts on the brain.' Researchers seem cautious to bill the treatment as a replacement for sleep, as it is not clear that adjusting brain chemistry could have the same physical benefits of real sleep in the long run. The drug is aimed at replacing amphetamines used by drowsy long-haul military pilots, but there would no doubt be large demand for such a remedy thanks to its apparent lack of side-effects."
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Snortable Drug 'Replaces' Sleep For Monkeys In Trials

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:44AM (#21846690) Homepage Journal
    Years ago I was asked to join a group doing government work in exploring drugs related to sleep replacement or to maintain alertness in certain groups of people. This sort of stuff made me uncomfortable then and it still gives me the creeps.

    The question for me always is whether or not the drug can *replace* sleep and all of its critical physiological functions. Sleep is a complex phenomenon with very specific architectures that helps maintain learning, performance, sanity and literature suggests more far reaching benefits from regular sleep. Lots of drugs can make the brain look "awake" including amphetamines and modafinil, itself widely used by people to maintain activities in the face of sleep needs. However, there are long term biological implications for not allowing one to invoke sleep including poor long term performance on learning and memory and there is some literature that suggests cardiovascular implications as well as other problems. Now, while the adverse effects of amphetamines are well known, they have been used for at least 60 years. On the other hand, drugs like modafinil are very recent and you may be shocked to find out just how many physicians, pilots, military personnel, truck drivers and housewives are currently taking modafinil to maintain alertness in the face of lack of sleep.

    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:52AM (#21846734) Homepage Journal
      This sort of thing looks just like the same kind of "quick fix", I'm really skeptical of this one too. IIRC, most of our self-repair functions happen when we sleep, so this probably has long-term implications that won't be caught in an 18 month trial.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by phillips321 (955784)
        The way I always see it is like this:
        Our human body's through evolution have become very advanced and have developed some fantastic biological systems. If we consider that we sleep for a 3rd of our 24hours day and this is the best that evolution can do for us then there are obviously some very important processes/actions that happen when we're sleeping. If sleep wasn't such an important factor then us as animals would have surely evolved enough to not need sleep, with no sleep we would have more time to fo
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday December 29, 2007 @08:57AM (#21847788) Homepage Journal
          Yeah, leave it to science to try to replace the one part of my life that I really, unconditionally adore. I'm a reasonably productive person, and I've done quite a lot in my half-life, but there's nothing like 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to make me a wonderfully happy man. I love my wife and kid. Food and sex are great. But sleep... Sleep is like the best bottle of wine you ever drank, cubed. It's like falling in love every single night. It's a fabulous journey, it's a long-sought homecoming. It's a precious fluid dropped on a parched tongue.

          A drug that would make sleep unnecessary?

          Pass.
          • by cHiphead (17854)
            Rick James figured this all out long before these "scientists"...

            "Cocaine is a hell of a drug"

            Cheers.
          • by Yetihehe (971185)
            If you have high quality sleep, I envy you. I would like to limit my sleep to neccesary minimum if only it would give me more producivity time. I need to sleep minimum 9-10 hours and then almost everytime I need 2 more hours to awake fully. Then after 10 hours of awake I'm sleepy again and can do nothing productive till I go sleep. After working for 8 hours this gives really little time for free time. I have more free time only if I'm ready to be non-productive whole next day.
            • I second this. I love sleeping in on the weekends, but if I could avoid sleep, I'd be able to have a job and still do my hobbies and enjoy more social time on my off-hours. Sleep is a big productivity hole to me. While I doubt any drug could every replace such a sleep, if there were one with no side effects, I'd do it in a heart-beat. As I would a 'fitness' pill.
            • by leenks (906881) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:07PM (#21849018)
              Out of interest, how much exercise do you do per day, and what do you eat? These things can have a massive effect on the ability to sleep - especially the exercise aspect.
            • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:57PM (#21849336) Homepage Journal

              I would like to limit my sleep to neccesary minimum if only it would give me more producivity time.
              Maybe we have differing notions of "productivity". I've been playing with lucid dreaming, on and off, for about 25 years. I find that a really good night's sleep, with energetic, "strong" dreams will make me twice as productive the following day, while a night of insufficient sleep brings a day where I have to exert twice as much mental energy to produce the same result. In fact, when I'm in sleep deficit, I often can't produce anything at all.

              Maybe this is unique to artists, musicians, writers, etc. Perhaps if I was some sort of middle manager or legal secretary or director of tech support for an insurance company, lack of sleep would make less difference. But I bet programmers do better with a good night's sleep.

              I understant that when you work 8-10 hours and sleep 8 hours and commute 2.5 hours it doesn't leave a lot of time for living. That's why I've tried so hard to arrange my life so I don't have to work 40 hours per week to support my family and have tried to live close to my place of work (or work at home) so I don't throw away so many hours of spirit-draining activities such as commuting. Although, for the few years that I rode my bike 15 miles to (and from) work every day, I found that under certain circumstances, commuting doesn't have to be so bad.

              But the main thing was coming to terms with the fact that working 40+ hours every week in a job that you don't like just so you can have health insurance and pay credit card debt was not an acceptable way to live. Then, it was just a matter of making my decisions with that in mind.
            • by feepness (543479)
              Have your thyroid levels checked. [wikipedia.org]

              I had my thyroid entirely removed due to cancer. I'd never really heard of the gland before. Until they finally got the levels right, it was hell. Constant exhaustion.
            • by sowth (748135)

              You need 12 hrs of sleep? Are you sure you don't have some sort of psychological issue (depression?) or physical one (stroke?). I thought 8 hours was the norm, and once you go above 10 or below 6 or 7, you are either pushing things or are ill.

              I had 2 strokes, and I probably vary between needing 8-12 hours of sleep...depending. I also have kidney failure, so that may add some to the mix. Though if I am fairly active for 2 hours or more in a day I may need more sleep, but the pain can keep me from falling a

              • by AuMatar (183847)
                8 hours normal? I don't think I've gotten more than 5 except on a weekend in a good 15 years. 8 is a luxury.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Wait a second...

            You have a wife and kid... and get 9 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep?

            Here I thought 3 hours of interrupted sleep was asking too much.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Vellmont (569020)

            Yeah, leave it to science to try to replace the one part of my life that I really, unconditionally adore.

            "Science" isn't trying to replace that, people are trying to do that. Science is just the tool used to accomplish it.

            If you want to blame anything, blame the motivation people have to sleep less and less. The research is funded by the military for pilots, but the interest from the rest of the public comes from that.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I'm not disagreeing per se, but I am not entirely sold on that "best solution as designed by evolution" pitch. One very good reason that evolution may have created sleep is not that sleep is the best fix, but the cludge that it came up with. consider that many animals never sleep. It may be that sleep is just Nature's way of making us go inactive when a niche does not suit us. animals designed for nightlife do poorly in daylight and so tend to sleep then. animals that don't do well in the dark sleep at
      • by Jim Hall (2985)

        This sort of thing looks just like the same kind of "quick fix", I'm really skeptical of this one too. IIRC, most of our self-repair functions happen when we sleep, so this probably has long-term implications that won't be caught in an 18 month trial.

        Yeah, wasn't there an X-Files episode [tv.com] on that? :-)

    • by Plazmid (1132467)
      What will happen if we ever find a way to truly avoid sleep? Will it become a requirement that we take the drug to work for a certain company? Will the company only hire people who take the anti-sleep drug or pay more to those who take it because they work longer. Will companies whose employees take anti-sleep pills 'out-compete' those who don't? Could the world eventually end up sleepless?
      • by name*censored* (884880) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @05:25AM (#21847004)
        Like you've implied, if we DID ever find a way to avoid sleep, we'd simply end up filling our new-found time with more work. All we'd be doing is making ourselves physically/emotionally exhausted, with precious little time to even rest. Add this to the fact that we'd be taking some horrible drug that would no doubt make people feel uneasy due to the loss of their circadian rhythm, and you've got yourself one miserable world to live in.

        Will it become a requirement that we take the drug to work for a certain company?
        Any sensible company which required 24 hour staffing would still resort to shift workers, unless there was some major advantage to compensate the natural loss of efficiency of people working ridiculously long shifts. The company would need to pay much more to compensate the single workers' efforts and drug-taking than it would have to pay 2 or 3 shift workers. The only way that a society of sleeplessness could occur is if there was suddenly a massive shortage of jobs, and people had to sacrifice to get a job (which seems to be getting more unlikely - the "baby boomer" population is retiring and there are scarcely enough people to fill the jobs). It's much more likely that once a sizeable population starts taking the drug, society will simply expect more of people (in terms of social status/affluence), and people will take these pills to out-compete each other in the EXTRA-CURRICULAR field(s) (which may extend to the work environment).
    • by yulek (202118)
      otoh, talk about a simple way to extend a human's active life span by 30+% were it possible to actually eliminate the need for sleep. i am also skeptical since every cognizant living organism regardless of its family seems to require downtime but nevertheless would be really interested in gaining back those 6-7 hours i currently "waste"...

      (yes i realize all the downsides including more energy/resources being consumed per individual, etc.)
      • If we all could have 8hrs quality of sleep in 3hrs in a burst mode, then it would be great.

        And if you do need to skip 1 day every few weeks then so be it, hey I went with 1 day a week without a sleep for 3 months and it was ok.
        • by Fordiman (689627)
          Hell, if I could just take a pill/spray and be wide awake in the morning (after saying up 'till three to finish a project), I'd be happy.
    • by Lerc (71477)
      There may be good reasons for sleep, but it isn't necessarily the case that those needs cannot be met by other means.

      For the most part people think that sleep must be needed because people feel sleepy. Artificially creating a disconnect between sleepiness and the need for sleep means that you may not be able to use one as a guide to the other. It is very much like the free will arguments. The strongest argument for free will is that people feel they have it but there are experiments to show the feeling i
      • by ultranova (717540)

        For the most part people think that sleep must be needed because people feel sleepy.

        No, people think that they need sleep because not sleeping will kill [wikipedia.org] you.

        One could also use simple logic: you are vulnerable while you sleep, so if it isn't an actual physical need, I doubt very much it would be as widespread phenomenom as it is.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by uncoveror (570620)
      The military has been looking for a pill that makes a 24/7 soldier by replacing sleep for a long time. Most of the experiments I have read about did not work as planned. After a while, no pill can stop a sleep deprived individual from suffering a psychotic break from reality as dream images inject themselves into reality.

      This could lead to a so-called super soldier who doesn't need sleep going on a rampage and killing his comrades because he thought he saw the enemy. You can't just replace sleep with a pi
      • You could have written a very similar note about heavier than air flight in 1899, and many people did.

        Just because something hasn't been solved yet, doesn't mean it won't be solved in the future.

        Perhaps there is some fundamental reason that this simply can't be done. But we have yet to discover that as well.
    • Years ago I was asked to join a group doing government work in exploring drugs related to sleep replacement or to maintain alertness in certain groups of people. This sort of stuff made me uncomfortable then and it still gives me the creeps.

      Jerome Siegel, professor of psychiatry at UCLA, was quoted as follows in TFA:

      "We have to realize that we are already living in a society where we are already self-medicating with caffeine," he said.

      Apparently, that's your answer. We already cash our paychecks at the Adenosine Quickie Mart. Why not also mortgage your house at the Orexin Casino?

      Based on this quote, Dr Siegel strikes me as a jerk in a white lab coat. Exactly why do we "have to realize" this little fact about caffeine? Has he been viewing too many spokesmartians for the Bush administration on late night TV?

      How about "We have to realize we live in a society

  • by Wicko (977078) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:50AM (#21846718)
    How can this replace sleep? Muscles need to rest, too. I guess it would be useful for us that need to sleep with one eye open. A drug for the paranoid.
    • by the_humeister (922869) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:53AM (#21846736)
      Exactly. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not after you...
    • by thePig (964303)
      I am no expert in this area, but if all the functions of sleep are so easily replaceable, then wouldn't nature have done so long before?
      Being in a state of very low alertness in a jungle is something which would have been filtered out by evolution long long ago.
      • by vertinox (846076)
        I am no expert in this area, but if all the functions of sleep are so easily replaceable

        Actually many animals hunt or graze at certain times of the time. It would be rather wasteful for them to up all the time moving about when conditions aren't right for their normal eating habits.

        Imagine a bat unable to sleep during the day or a bear unable to sleep during hibernation.
      • by Jartan (219704)

        I am no expert in this area, but if all the functions of sleep are so easily replaceable, then wouldn't nature have done so long before?
        Being in a state of very low alertness in a jungle is something which would have been filtered out by evolution long long ago.

        Do you have any idea how many calories a well fit body uses? The kind of animal that lives in the wild uses a lot of energy. It's only natural that they'd go into some form or powered down mode during periods where the energy cost of hunting for foo

    • by vertinox (846076)
      How can this replace sleep?

      Its not intended to replace sleep.
      Secondly DARPA usually doesn't do research for public consumption. Eventually it would get there, but for now its going straight to the military.
      My bet would be this is aimed for fighter/bomber pilots running 48 hour shifts.
      Currently one of the most proscribed drugs in the Airforce is of course the same drugs narcoleptic people use.

      Actually, this is straight of a sci-fi military book about war in 2020 I read once. Can't remember the name but the o
      • by Wicko (977078)
        I had no idea they run 48 hours shifts. But I guess they do have some time to rest while being refueled. This sounds more likely to happen during a time of war though, I have trouble seeing the benefit of keeping a pilot in the air for 2 days straight. Do they not have enough pilots to keep a certain amount up in the air or something? I really am naive about those kinds of things haha. Also, I live in Canada, so I really know nothing about your military.
    • Good job slashdot:

      Researchers seem cautious to bill the treatment as a replacement for sleep
      Story headline:

      Snortable Drug 'Replaces' Sleep For Monkeys In Trials
  • 2 am post (Score:4, Funny)

    by Plazmid (1132467) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:51AM (#21846722)
    A 2 am post about a drug to replace sleep, now isn't that ironic!
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:52AM (#21846726)
    I doubt this drug would permanently replace sleep without some form of side-effect. However, I'm sure it could work as a good "supplement" to sleep for periods of time where awareness is crucial. A low side effect No Doze?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:56AM (#21846740)
    You know who else don't need sleep?

    Zombies.
  • Why not modafinil? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:02AM (#21846760)
    Provigil (modafinil) has been shown to remove the need for sleep for days on end without any side effects, including the fun ones, like euphoria. Why are pilots still popping dexies?
    • by Torvaun (1040898)
      Maybe they like the euphoria. Maybe dexies have other benefits other than delaying the need for sleep.
    • by Plunky (929104)
      I'm sure that commercial pilots aren't doing that since the autopilot is flying the plane and there is more than one pilot on board, so a nap is feasible.

      I wonder why long haul military pilots are any different, surely they also have more than one person on board?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The FAA and military medical examiners are extremely conservative. Until a drug has been used for a long time in a large group of people with no adverse side affects, it won't be approved for flight. Even after that, it's not approved until ground testing on the specific pilot is done. For example, Allegra was approved 10 years after it was approved by the FDA, but I still had to take it for 2 weeks before I could fly with it. A stupid allergy drug, yup, 2 weeks without work. Drugs being used off label, no
  • by n1000 (1051754) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:05AM (#21846778)
    ..."No apparent side effects"

    More research needs to be done before we can have a worthwhile discussion of this as a "sleep replacement."

    Also, this would not be a permanent replacement, so no trying to bash this study with the 'The human body needs sleep' argument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cp.tar (871488)

      I do wonder if it can be applied as a quick fix.

      It would have to work nearly instantly, though... imagine a sleepy driver. The car's computer can detect the drowsiness, make a surprising, loud noise to snap the driver awake, and spray a mist of this drug in his face. Enough to get home safely, but not enough to hamper the real sleep he'll get when he gets home.

      • by nbritton (823086)
        Provigil (Modafinil) can already do what you and this article describe... The only down side is that it costs $250 a month.
      • I do wonder if it can be applied as a quick fix.

        It would have to work nearly instantly, though... imagine a sleepy driver. The car's computer can detect the drowsiness, make a surprising, loud noise to snap the driver awake, and spray a mist of this drug in his face. Enough to get home safely, but not enough to hamper the real sleep he'll get when he gets home.

        "We've secretly replaced Joe's Sleep-B-Gone with new Folger's pepper spray. Can he tell the difference? Let's watch."

      • by couchslug (175151)
        "...spray a mist of this drug in his face"

        "Aaagh! My eyes!" Hilarity ensues.
  • Speculation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by localman (111171) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:05AM (#21846780) Homepage
    Without having performed any research at all, I'm going to speculate that actual sleep is very important. In the wild it is dangerous to be unconscious for hours at a time. If it wasn't absolutely necessary, then nature would have found a way to avoid it. Or, more correctly stated, not needing sleep would seem to be a pretty amazing advantage.

    But, almost anything with measurable cognitive abilities needs sleep. So there must be some very important work going on there. Probably laying down neural hardlines where temporary chemicals were making pathways before? I'm just guessing, but it's got to be something that requires a partial shutdown.

    I think the technology is cool and would be useful for some things, though. I'm always in favor of exploring the outer limits of our abilities. It will be very interesting to see what happens if a person uses this chemical sleep exclusively for, say weeks at a time. Maybe we'll learn what sleep is really for by seeing what stops working correctly. My guess is that they'll not be able to recall anything beyond the past couple days. Things that happened too far back in their wakefulness will not get layed down as long term memories and will be permanently lost.

    That is, it'll be kind of like Memento except with, say, a 72 hour working memory instead of 10 minutes.
    • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:34AM (#21846862)
      my bet is that they go insane before anything else. supressing the urge to sleep is very different to replacing sleep, in the same fashion that being constipated is not a replacment for taking a shit.
    • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:43AM (#21846886) Homepage Journal
      A lot of this is already known to science. There is a family that (I think) has a prion disease such that if a family member gets it, they stay awake until they die a few months later - and it sounds like a very horrible death too.

      Here's a link to the story I heard about.

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6503414 [npr.org]
    • There is a flaw in your idea that evolution only ends up keeping that which is absolutely necessary for survival. Sometimes evolution ends up keeping features that are detrimental to creature's survival or reproductive ability in the short run for some indirect "purpose". Consider the huge and awkward tail of the peacock or the vulnerable external genitalia we male humans have.

      Perhaps needing to be unconscious for hours at a time is one of the reasons many animals have to join together in groups, and tho
      • by ultranova (717540)

        Consider the huge and awkward tail of the peacock

        Neccessary to attract a mate; increases the chances of breeding.

        or the vulnerable external genitalia we male humans have.

        Neccessary to keep the sperm at optimal temperature, which is lower than the optimal temperature for the rest of the body. Increases your chances of breeding, and isn't actually all that vulnerable; if an enemy is close enough to kick you in the balls, it is close enough to rip out your throat.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      In the wild it is dangerous to be unconscious for hours at a time. If it wasn't absolutely necessary, then nature would have found a way to avoid it.

      Being unconscious may well have been slightly less of a disadvantage than the gains animals get from it. Growing to 3 meters tall would have been an amazing advantage as well, and it's not inherently necessary for humans to be 1/3rd shorter, as we are.

      Sleep may well just be a method to conserve energy (see: hibernation) during the useless hours of the day, whe

    • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kawdyr (1209648) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @06:02AM (#21847148)
      Actually, one important theory of sleep says the opposite - that we evolved it to keep us OUT of trouble - saving energy and avoiding roaming, which puts us at greater risk of meeting predators. As I recall, this theory is (partially) supported by diet being one of the best predictors of the amount of sleep an animal needs. Of course if that was sleep's only purpose, you'd think we'd stay conscious for it so we could react to a predator that found us... so it's probably quite multi-faceted. Sleep [wikipedia.org] - See preservation and protection theory
      • by willy_me (212994)

        Interesting.. I have always thought this but did not know it was a popular theory.

        you'd think we'd stay conscious for it so we could react to a predator that found us

        My explanation for this is that we evolved as a social species that worked in groups. It is also important to note that we sleep in cycles - only going into deep sleep for a small part of the night. Combine these two facts and one can see how sleeping in a group would result in at least part of the group always being alert to predator

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gregor-e (136142)
      The selective pressures of the environment are radically altered by presence or absence of daylight. This profound change results in two separate ecosystems. Sleep is a hack to enable survival in both worlds. Those species best adapted to a lit world will find their more restless members get eaten if they don't sit absolutely still at night. And vice-versa. Evolving to be competitive in both worlds is a much taller order. Evolution settles for the first solution that assures reproduction, not the ulti
  • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:07AM (#21846782)
    "Thanks to modern chemistry sleep is now optional"

    This sort of stuff creeps me out. As BWJones commented, we don't know enough about exactly how sleep works and what its function is in our mental health to start eliminating it by messing with the brain's chemistry. This will likely end up being abused by someone, be it the military, commercial pilots, or students trying to cram for a test, or some sicko as part of a brain washing regime, it doesn't matter, it will happen and it won't be pretty.

    I'll stick with coffee thank you very much.
  • ZOMG this is going to lead to some absolutely heinous lan parties!
  • In related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:22AM (#21846826)
    ...Sysadmins have recently discovered they can improve uptime by eliminating routine maintenance.
    • ..Sysadmins have recently discovered they can improve uptime by eliminating routine maintenance.

      s/Sysadmins/Managers/

      Sysadmins know that regular scheduled downtime is necessary to keep things running smoothly. A well designed system can take certain parts offline without causing a noticible loss of service. The human brain runs roughly similarly; parts can come and go from service (sleep, etc) and the brain will keep running.

      Regular scheduled downtime in controlled conditions keeps your machine runn

      • Man that joke flew right over your head.

        I was wondering what the managers here were giving us to keep us going. hmmm more powdered donuts please!
  • by enigma48 (143560) <(jeff_new_slash) (at) (jeffdom.com)> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:52AM (#21846906) Journal
    A few years back, I did some reading from a semi-reliable source (maybe Reader's Digest) about two people in the world who can't sleep for more than a few minutes.

    One was a guy in his twenties who lived in Israel. An explosion left some shrapnel in his brain and could no longer sleep. When I read the story, he was just finishing a Law degree.

    Another story was about an older man in Germany who hadn't been able to sleep at least since his teens. He was 50ish and could sleep for up to 5 minutes at best. He lived a relatively normal life.

    Obviously in some cases, the body can adjust to getting by without sleep - I wonder if their bodies learned how to overproduce this chemical?
  • Man my productivity would increase in and out of work. My muscles get enough rest sitting in an idle state at my desk for 8 hours a day as it is. It's almost like they get a full-night's rest. If only my brain would stay awake past 2 in the afternoon...
  • Am I the only one who clicked on this carelessly wondering what new snort filters someone was playing with?
  • Dear God! (Score:2, Funny)

    by krs804 (986193)
    Don't let my boss see this.
  • by cluke (30394)
    As an aside, who discovered "snorting" as a delivery mechanism for drugs (as opposed to eating or smoking)? And why do people only snort certain drugs, what makes those particular ones suitable?

    (I will leave the discussion on suppositories for another day ;-)
    • As an aside, who discovered "snorting" as a delivery mechanism for drugs (as opposed to eating or smoking)? And why do people only snort certain drugs, what makes those particular ones suitable?

      There's a surprisingly detailed history on the insufflation [wikipedia.org] page over at Wikipedia. As for what makes something suitable? Water soluble, with small enough molecules to make it through the mucus membrane, and that doesn't cause an unbearable amount of irritation. I'm sure I'm missing quite a few things that would factor in to it, but I believe those are the most important ones.

    • The main methods of taking drugs are: Ingestion, insufflation (snorting), inhalation and injection.

      With ingestion, the chemical is absorbed through the digestive system. When insufflated, it is absorbed via the mucus membrane at the top & back of your nasal cavity. Inhaled drugs are absorbed through the lungs, and injection needs no explanation.

      The difference is usually a duration/intensity trade-off based on how quickly the chemical enters the bloodstream in its entirety. I listed them above with the l
  • A drug that needs to be snorted and makes the test subjects feel awake? Sounds to me like someone just reinvented cocaine.
  • The new norm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Unlikely_Hero (900172) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @06:42AM (#21847266)
    If this works there's a good chance that sleep won't become optional, it will become a dream. Computers promised the same thing, paperless office, more productivity, but they brought their own issues. I love computers, don't get me wrong, but the fact remains that the promise of lots more leisure time was an empty promise.
    Free time will be filled with more work to do. In a world where sleep is optional, some people will be willing to work 20 hours a day or more. Slowly, this will become expected.

    This tech is here to stay; trying to change that would just be silly. If, as posters above have said, this isn't really a sleep replacement then it's only a matter of time, the tech will come.
    Some people will try to call it "unnatural" or "evil", it won't make a difference.
    The question is,
    how will you react when it happens and you're asked to come in for an 18 hour workday instead of your normal 8-12 to "stay competitive".
    Is it that crazy of an idea that maybe people should /relax/ with their freetime instead of adding work?...
    *sadly goes off and reads a book*
  • by OG (15008) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:28AM (#21847968)
    Here are some facts about orexin to supplement the article. It's a neuropeptide that is endogenous in the mamallian brain (probably outside of mammals, but I've never checked). It was discovered about 10 years ago, and the original biological function described for it was increasing feeding, hence the name orexin (although many scientists prefer the name hypocretin). It's also been shown to subserve the reward system in the brain as a modulating agent.

    All which leads me to the question, how could this effect eating disorders and addiction? It's been shown that blocking the orexin system decreases relapse to drugs in animal models. Could artificially increasing the levels of orexin in the brain support the development or maintenance of drug abuse? Could it have similar effects on eating? It is interesting (and makes sense) that it only affected drowsy monkeys, as orexin seems to support the maintenance of wakefulness, so it's possible that there's a ceiling effect to orexin. Still, I'd be wary of longterm exposure to non-natural levels.
  • "...there would no doubt be large demand for such a remedy thanks to its apparent lack of side-effects."

    It's funny, just *yesterday* I was thinking to myself the following: Every decade or so a new drug is invented that is claimed to have no adverse side-effects. The young kids say "Ah, at last! We can take this drug without a downside!" And only later in the decade do the side effects appear evident.

    My girlfriend can remember her mother saying in the 80's "Have you heard about this new drug cocaine? It's t
  • Wow! It's not cheap (Score:4, Informative)

    by inicom (81356) <(moc.mocini) (ta) (mea)> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:58AM (#21848108) Homepage
    100 micrograms runs about $120-$150.
    1 milligram about $560.

    Still, if it works. Think of all the extra billable hours...
  • "Productivity" is great if they reward you. Otherwise it's just more fucking slavery.
  • For years there has been a very cheap and safe drug that does just that - Modafinil. It is a pill, it does not have to be snorted.

    You can stay awake on modafinil for up to 3 days in row without sleep - it is not pleasant since you dont feel refreshed but you are also not exhausted. Modafinil is devoid of the manically stimulated, clenching-jaw, no-one-can-stop-me-now driven delusional state like with amphetamines. Modafinil has no pleasure-producing qualities and no long-term ill effect. But rats kept on mo
  • Why amphetamines? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superwiz (655733) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @02:02PM (#21849772) Journal
    There is already Provigil which has no effects on metabolism. Its only effect is to remove sleepiness.

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