New research from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore shows long-term sleep deprivation correlates to brain atrophy and lowered cognitive performance, Liberty Voice reports.

Such research adds to the growing body of evidence in support of the idea that losing sleep not only has negative effects on short-term mood and well-being, but also can contribute to long-term health problems.

For their particular study the Duke University researchers examined relatively healthy adults aged 55 years and older. Every two years the subjects participated in neuropsychological assessments and had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure completed to image their brains.

After controlling for factors such as age, sex, body mass index, and education the researchers noted patterns linking sleep deprivation with rapid brain atrophy and cognitive decline. In particular they noted that the ventricles in the brain were especially prominent in individuals who were chronically sleep deprived.