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NEURONS COULD GO TO SLEEP EVEN WHEN YOU’RE AWAKE

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Posted by abeodbart April 28, 2011 at 9:39 am


WIRED: When deprived of sleep, parts of the human brain may doze off, secretly snatching moments of slumber even as people seem to be awake.

That could explain why our sleep-deprived selves are so cognitively challenged: We are, if not precisely half-asleep, partially asleep.

“After a long period in an awake state, cortical neurons can go briefly ‘offline,’” wrote researchers led by University of Wisconsin neuroscientists Vladyslav Vyazovskiy and Giulio Tononi in a study published April 27 in Nature. “Although both EEG and behavior indicate wakefulness, local populations of neurons in the cortex may be falling asleep, with negative consequences for performance.”

To study rats’ neurology, Tononi’s team wired their brains to an EEG machine, kept them awake longer than usual, and looked for patterns in readouts of their brains’ electrical activity.

They found that scattered neurons throughout the rats’ brains gradually alternated between periods of activity and inactivity — a pattern associated with deep sleep, not wakefulness. But unlike their synchronization during sleep, these oscillations were brief and disjointed.

Full Story at WIRED

COMMENTS
April 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm
roz says:

whadda hoot! the human brain is a wunnerful thing. it starts working first thing in the AM when ya wake up, & doesnt stop til you are called on in class.


April 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm
Laurence says:

I’ve been very daydream-like for over a year, with a slight lacking time perception and a sense of suddenly appearing in a destination with little recollection, or registration, of its journey, and so on. I have therefore no shock whatsoever about this discovery. Out of interest, though, am I normal? Or is there some kind of psychological or physical problem with me? Does it ring any bells? Because I would like to get to the bottom of this strange problem.


April 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm
zoe says:

cool


May 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm
MooseCracker says:

How much money went into a study that tells us what all of us already knew, viz people are asleep at the wheel?
jk – I’m sure it’s valuable. I.E. Surely this will lead to further understandings in neuroscience and some corporation will then assure that people with enough money gain access to partially functioning medications; thus, allowing them to perform better and get ahead more effectively on less actual sleep.


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