28 January 2013

Sleep and memory. Do they go together?

New study says yes.  A report in NY Times (Jan 27, 2013), "Aging in Brain Found to Hurt Sleep Needed for Memory" by Benedict Carey reports on new findings.
Previous research had found that the prefrontal cortex, the brain region behind the forehead, tends to lose volume with age, and that part of this region helps sustain quality sleep, which is critical to consolidating new memories. But the new experiment, led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, is the first to directly link structural changes with sleep-related memory problems.

The findings suggest that one way to slow memory decline in aging adults is to improve sleep, specifically the so-called slow-wave phase, which constitutes about a quarter of a normal night’s slumber.
Researchers are trying to use electrodes on the skull to help recreate the wave patterns that are associated with healthy sleep.

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