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December 11, 2011

Sleep: Post-Publication Confirmations?

As I explained in my UCSF talk (a voice recording is available) my original guess that animal sleep was (among other things) an anti-cancer adaptation seemed to be confirmed by an earlier experiment with mice who, apparently, are programmed to undertake routine mitosis during sunlight hours, when those nocturnal animals are most likely sleeping in their burrows.

In Cancer Selection after explaining (on page 103) why I was convinced that sleep plays an important anti-cancer role I wrote -- in 1991-- on page 143: "Future discoveries of increased immune activity ... during sleep would support my theory."

A search today at Google Scholar (which did not exist until 2004) for "sleep + 'immune system'" yields a number of  papers linking the two.

It is possible, of course, that the concurrence of sleep, routine mitosis and immune activity all happening during hours when exposure to natural UV radiation is at a diurnal low point is unrelated to cancer.

Comments and questions to the author ... are welcomed here.

At this site you will find links to additional material including my original Letters to the Journal of Theoretical Biology and  the 1992 Nature review of my book.

© 2011 by James Graham

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