Navigation Links
Brain regions can take short naps during wakefulness, leading to errors
Date:4/27/2011

Madison, Wis. If you've ever lost your keys or stuck the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the refrigerator, you may have been the victim of a tired brain region that was taking a quick nap.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have a new explanation. They've found that some nerve cells in a sleep-deprived yet awake brain can briefly go "off line," into a sleep-like state, while the rest of the brain appears awake.

"Even before you feel fatigued, there are signs in the brain that you should stop certain activities that may require alertness," says Dr. Chiara Cirelli, professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine and Public Health. "Specific groups of neurons may be falling asleep, with negative consequences on performance."

Until now, scientists thought that sleep deprivation generally affected the entire brain. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) show network brain-wave patterns typical of either being asleep or awake.

"We know that when we are sleepy, we make mistakes, our attention wanders and our vigilance goes down," says Cirelli. "We have seen with EEGs that even while we are awake, we can experience shorts periods of 'micro sleep.' "

Periods of micro sleep were thought to be the most likely cause of people falling asleep at the wheel while driving, Cirelli says.

But the new research found that even before that stage, brains are already showing sleep-like activity that impairs them, she says.

As reported in the current issue of Nature, the researchers inserted probes into specific groups of neurons in the brains of freely-behaving rats. After the rats were kept awake for prolonged periods, the probes showed areas of "local sleep" despite the animals' appearance of being awake and active.

"Even when some neurons went off line, the overall EEG measurements of the brain indicated wakefulness in the rats," Cirelli says.

And there were behavioral consequences to the local sleep episodes.

"When we prolonged the awake period, we saw the rats start to make mistakes," Cirelli says.

When animals were challenged to do a tricky task, such as reaching with one paw to get a sugar pellet, they began to drop the pellets or miss in reaching for them, indicating that a few neurons might have gone off line.

"This activity happened in few cells," Cirelli adds. "For instance, out of 20 neurons we monitored in one experiment, 18 stayed awake. From the other two, there were signs of sleepbrief periods of activity alternating with periods of silence."

The researchers tested only motor tasks, so they concluded from this study that neurons affected by local sleep are in the motor cortex.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dian Land
dj.land@hosp.wisc.edu
608-261-1034
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Towards zero training for brain-computer interfacing
2. Brain Cancer Patients at Two Leading Hospitals Treated Using Fast and Efficient RapidArc Radiotherapy Technology from Varian Medical Systems
3. Revealing the regulating mechanism behind signal transduction in the brain
4. OmniGuide Introduces The BeamPath Neuro(TM): A CO2 Laser Fiber for Brain And Spine Surgery
5. Delaware Man Spearheads Brain Tumor Awareness
6. Swedish Neuroscience Institute and Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle Form Alliance to Learn More about Brain Diseases
7. Swedish in Seattle Unveils State-of-the-Art Brain Tumor Center Combining Advanced Treatment With Innovation in Research
8. Brain and Hearing Pioneer, Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. to Speak at Case Western Reserve University
9. Scientists restore movement to paralyzed limbs through artificial brain-muscle connections
10. MedTechIQ Selects TheBrain to Visualize Expansive Biointellingence Database and Connect the Dots Between Life Sciences, Medicine and Venture Capital
11. The human brain minimizes energy expenditure and integrates gravity in to the action plan
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target ... over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design and ... in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors and ... brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of one ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... -- The new GEZE SecuLogic access control ... system solution for all door components. It can be ... interface with integration authorization management system, and thus fulfills ... dimensions of the access control and the optimum integration ... considerable freedom of design with regard to the doors. ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016   ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited ... of its soon to be launched online site for ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders a ... DNA technology to an industry that is notorious for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):