About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Scientists Uncover Mechanism Behind Memory Formation During Sleep

by Rajashri on September 18, 2009 at 8:12 PM
Font : A-A+

 Scientists Uncover Mechanism Behind Memory Formation During Sleep

The mechanism that causes learning and memory formation during sleep has been uncovered for the first ever time by a team of scientists.

Researchers led by Gyorgy Buzsaki, professor at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, Newark, have determined that short transient brain events, called "sharp wave ripples," are responsible for consolidating memory and transferring the learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex, where long-term memories are stored.

Advertisement

Sharp wave ripples are intense, compressed oscillations that occur in the hippocampus when the hippocampus is working "off-line," most often during stage four sleep, which, along with stage three, is the deepest level of sleep.

"(During stage four sleep) it's as if many instruments and members of the orchestra come together to generate a loud sound, a sound so loud that it is heard by wide areas of the neocortex. These sharp, 'loud' transient events occur hundreds to thousands of times during sleep and 'teach' the neocortex to form a long-term form of the memory, a process referred to as memory consolidation," Nature quoted Buzsaki as saying.
Advertisement

The intensity and multiple occurrences of those ripples also explain why certain events may only take place once in the waking state and yet can be remembered for a lifetime, added Buzsaki.

The scientists could pinpoint that sharp wave ripples caused memory formation by eliminating those ripple events in rats during sleep.

The rats were trained in a spatial navigation task and then allowed to sleep after each session.

It was found that rats that selectively had all ripple events eliminated by electrical stimulation were impeded in their ability to learn from the training, as compressed information was unable to leave the hippocampus and transfer to the neocortex.

Identification of a specific brain pattern responsible for strengthening learned information could facilitate applied research for more effective treatment of memory disorders.

"This is the first example that if a well-defined pattern of activity in the brain is reliably and selectively eliminated, it results in memory deficit; a demonstration that this specific brain pattern is the cause behind long-term memory formation," said Buzsaki.

The study has been published in Nature Neuroscience.

Source: ANI
RAS
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Baldness can be Cured and Prevented: let us see How!
Drinking Beer or Wine Every Day Could Cause Age-related Diseases
Low-Calorie Diet for Diabetes
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking Periodic Limb Movement Disorder REM Behavior Disorder Sleep Disturbances In Women Sleep Insomnia Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypersomnia Ageing and Sleep 

Most Popular on Medindia

Find a Doctor Accident and Trauma Care Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) A-Z Drug Brands in India Indian Medical Journals Drug Side Effects Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Drug Interaction Checker Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Noscaphene (Noscapine)
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use