Memories are strengthened via brainwaves produced during sleep, new study shows

ScienceDaily | 5/15/2019 | Staff
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The study was led by Thanh Dang-Vu, associate professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and Concordia University Research Chair in Sleep, Neuroimaging and Cognitive Health. In it, researchers studied how declarative information like facts and faces get stored after they have been learned. It has to do with brainwaves -- specifically, ones called sleep spindles, which are fast bursts of electrical activity produced by neurons mainly during Stage 2 sleep, prior to deep sleep.

Dang-Vu worked alongside Christophe Grova, associate professor in the Department of Physics, and researchers from the Cyclotron Research Centre at University of Liège in Belgium. Using medical imaging machines, they were able to assess brain activity related to these waves.

Sleep - Spindles - Role - Information - Hippocampus

"It's hypothesized that sleep spindles play an important role in transferring information from the hippocampus to the neo-cortex," Dang-Vu says. "This has the effect of increasing the strength of memories."

To get the images they needed, Dang-Vu's team used both electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They applied these tools to a group of student volunteers during and after a lab-based face-sequencing task. The students were shown a series of faces and asked to identify the order in which they were shown. The researchers scanned them while they were learning the faces, while they were asleep and again when they woke up and had to recall...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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