Sleep's memory role discovered

Scientists watch synapses forming in sleep

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Sleep's memory role discovered

#1  Postby kennyc » Jun 06, 2014 11:02 am

Sleep's memory role discovered
By James Gallagher

The mechanism by which a good night's sleep improves learning and memory has been discovered by scientists.

The team in China and the US used advanced microscopy to witness new connections between brain cells - synapses - forming during sleep.

Their study, published in the journal Science, showed even intense training could not make up for lost sleep.

Experts said it was an elegant and significant study, which uncovered the mechanisms of memory.

It is well known that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. But what actually happens inside the brain has been a source of considerable debate.

Researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School trained mice in a new skill - walking on top of a rotating rod.

They then looked inside the living brain with a microscope to see what happened when the animals were either sleeping or sleep deprived.

Their study showed that sleeping mice formed significantly more new connections between neurons - they were learning more.

And by disrupting specific phases of sleep, the research group showed deep or slow-wave sleep was necessary for memory formation.
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Re: Sleep's memory role discovered

#2  Postby igorfrankensteen » Jun 06, 2014 11:59 am

Fascinating. It makes sense in a way, though of course I have no idea if the brain really is like a machine in that way: you can't change the oil in your car while you are driving it. And you can't change your computers video card while you are using it to play games.

I wouldn't say though, that the sleeping mice learned MORE, I would suggest that the sleeping mice's brains were doing what was needed to RETAIN what they learned.
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Re: Sleep's memory role discovered

#3  Postby DavidMcC » Jun 06, 2014 1:12 pm

I'll have to sleeep on this! 8-)
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Re: Sleep's memory role discovered

#4  Postby cavarka9 » Jun 22, 2014 5:41 pm

I am worried, considering the many nights I went without sleep, its clear it took a toll on my brain. I am dumber than I was 3-5yrs back.
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