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Brain region that can be stimulated to reduce the cognitive deficits of sleep deprivation identified
Date:2/1/2008

NEW YORK A Columbia University Medical Center research team has uncovered how stimulation of a particular brain region can help stave off the deficits in working memory, associated with an extended sleep deprivation.

Working memory is a specific form of short-term memory that relates to the ability to store task-specific information for a limited timeframe, e.g., where your car is parked in a huge mall lot or remembering a phone number for few seconds before writing it down. It has long been established that cognitive performance, such as working memory, declines with sleep deprivation.

We are excited about the possibilities of using brain stimulation to improve cognitive function, said Bruce Luber, Ph.D., lead author of the paper and an instructor in clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. We recently published a study in which we were able to improve the working memory performance of young adults for the first time and this new study extends our findings.

In this research, we were able to non-invasively manipulate a brain network identified by imaging to partially remediate the effects of sleep deprivation using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which has already shown promise in treating depression and other disorders," said Sarah H. Lisanby, M.D., senior author of the study and co-principal investigator of the DARPA grant funding this research. Dr. Lisanby is associate professor of clinical psychiatry and chief of the Brain Stimulation and Therapeutic Modulation Division, at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

These findings have important implications for better understanding the neural bases of cognitive decline in the elderly. And the rTMS used in this study may potentially be useful in exploring and treating cognitive deficits due to aging and neurop
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
eas2125@columbia.edu
212-305-6535
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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