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Date: January 11, 2014

"As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking."

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: January 11, 2014

"How, then, does its waste — like beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease — get cleared? What happens to all the wrappers and leftovers that litter the room after any mental workout?"

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: January 11, 2014

"'Think about a fish tank,' says Dr. Nedergaard. 'If you have a tank and no filter, the fish will eventually die. So, how do the brain cells get rid of their waste? Where is their filter?'"

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: January 11, 2014

"If the main function of sleep is to take out our neural trash, that insight could eventually enable a new understanding of both neurodegenerative diseases and regular, age-related cognitive decline."

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: January 11, 2014

"One day, scientists might be able to successfully mimic the expansion of the interstitial space that does the mental janitorial work so that we can achieve maximally efficient round-the-clock brain trash pickup."

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: September 12, 2014

"He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex)."

— Druckerman, Pamela (b. 1970)

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Date: January 11, 2014

"It's [concerning sleep loss] like the difference between a snowstorm's disrupting a single day of trash pickup and a prolonged strike. No longer quite as easy to fix, and even when the strike is over, there's likely to be some stray debris floating around for quite some time yet."

— Konnikova, Maria (b. 1984)

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Date: February 9, 2015

"Now I know for sure that the soul is an evanescent thing and the body is its temporary container, because I saw it. I saw the body with the soul in it, I saw the body with the soul leaving, and I saw the body with the soul gone."

— Alexander, Elizabeth (b. 1962)

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Date: March 19, 2015

"When students are tackling a task like that, you can feel the whirr and hum of thought: it feels woven of reciprocity, willing, ambition, the impulse to translate fugitive thoughts into communication with others."

— Warner, Marina (b. 1946)

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Date: April 17, 2015

"In every moment, your brain consults its vast stores of knowledge and asks, 'The last time I was in a similar situation, what sensations did I encounter and how did I act?'"

— Barrett, Lisa Feldman (b. 1963)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.