We began looking up all kinds of research on sleep and ran down many bunny trails, but we found one with a pot of gold at the end of the trail....or is that a rainbow.
We are back to the GABA receptor.
The GABA receptor is an (the) inhibitor in the brain. That means it stops the nerve transmission. This is a very good thing. There is a balance between excitatory and inhibitory in the brain. Neither is 'bad', both are 'good'. It is all about balance.
In Down syndrome we are overly inhibited!! What does this mean in the brain, and what does it mean for sleep?
The GABA receptor is always shown sitting in the membrane like the picture below:
But it turns out that it goes in and out of the membrane. There is a mechanism like a lego block (pink), that attaches to the receptor (black), then another piece (purple) attaches to the lego block and the GABA receptor is pulled into the cell. It is no longer available on the surface. This turns down the inhibition. However, in DS we have 2 genes triplicated on the 21st chromosome that affects the structural component (purple) piece in picture below. This sets Down syndrome up for a slower than normal process.
Check out the picture below:
More Tomorrow!!Stay tuned for the most important information I have ever read!!!!!!!