Research Digest

Lab notes: Lack of sleep can worsen pain after surgery but caffeine can help

A new study find the mechanism by which caffeine can reduce post-operative pain.

Doctors and medical researchers have long pointed o how essential sleep is for good health and how a chronic lack of sleep can lead to many health problems. Now, a team of scientists has demonstrated that sleep before a surgery plays an important role in reducing post-operative pain.

The researchers worked on the premise that the relationship between sleep and pain is reciprocal and that several studies demonstrated that pre- and postoperative sleep disturbances worsen pain and predict the onset of long-term postoperative pain.”

They set out to examine whether brief, total sleep deprivation in rats immediately before surgery worsens postoperative pain and increases recovery time, predicting that such a disturbance would worsen postoperative pain. After using a rat surgical model to test their hypothesis and on examining the data, the team found that extended wakefulness prior to surgery significantly enhanced postoperative pain behaviors in rats and extended recovery time after surgery.

But the team also wanted to examine if treatments or interventions could minimise the effect of sleep loss by reducing the severity of the pain. They decided to analyse the effect of the widely-used stimulant caffeine. They found that caffeine blocked the increase in surgical pain caused by previous sleep loss, but only on those rats that underwent sleep deprivation before surgery. This has led the researchers to conclude that the effect is not due to caffeine’s analgesic properties but because caffeine might block part of the neurochemical changes induced by sleep deprivation in specific brain areas that control sleep and wakefulness, and project to pain-related sites.

The researchers say that their results, published in the journal Sleep, are relevant because sleep disorders and insufficient sleep are highly prevalent problems in society. Patients also often travel long distances during nights or early mornings before being admitted into the hospital for elective surgery. Ad thus do not get adequate sleep before surgery.

The team says more studies are required on the subject.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.