About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Sleep Enhances Memory Processing

by VR Sreeraman on November 16, 2007 at 5:20 PM
Font : A-A+

Sleep Enhances Memory Processing

According to researchers at the University of Arizona, during sleep the brain takes six to seven times less time to play the memory of an occurrence. Professor Bruce McNaughton and his colleague David Euston say that a memory of having lunch, for example, would involve a number of elements like the name of the restaurant, items served, surrounding noise level, payment of bill etc.

While an actual dining experience might have taken up an hour of actual time, replaying the memory of it would only take 8 to 10 minutes, say the researchers.

Advertisement

Memory stores patterns of activity in modular form in the brain's cortex. Different modules process different kinds of information like sounds, sights, tastes, smells etc.

The networks of activity of are then transferred by the cortex to a brain region called the hippocampus, which creates tags (temporary bar codes) for every memory and sends that signal back to the cortex.
Advertisement

Each module in the cortex uses these bar codes to retrieve its own part of the activity. McNaughton said that the speed of the consolidation process is not constrained by the real world physical laws that regulate activity in time and space, which is why processing the memory of an event takes such a less time during sleep.

The retrieval bar codes generated by the hippocampus are only temporary until the cortex can carry a given memory on its own. "It's a slow process," said McNaughton.

"The initial creation of the tag is made through existing connections. In order to do the rewiring necessary to have the intermodular connections carry the burden takes time. What you have to do is reinstate those memories multiple times. Every time you reinstate the memory, the modules make a little shift in the connection . . . something grows this way, grows that way, a connection gets made here, gets broken there. And eventually, after you do this multiple times, then an optimal set of connections gets constructed," he added.

The researchers say that the brain generally does all of this during sleep when it is not busy with processing real-time inputs. McNaughton has developed the technology to record from multiple probes, each of which can track the activity of a dozen or more brain cells. "We need groups of cells because in order to identify a pattern, you have to look at the collected activity of many neurons," McNaughton said.

The researchers now plan to find an experiment that will enable them to demonstrate that changes in the memory reactivation process would affect memory consolidation but not damage the brain in the process. "The more practical point, I think, is that this methodology, the ability to measure how fast the brain is processing at the level of changing the state of the brain from one 10- millisecond epoch to the next, how fast the internal state is sweeping through its memories or its allowable patterns is, I think, a model for thought speed," McNaughton said.

Knowing the determinants for the speed of thought, he said, might allow studies of the effects of drugs, developmental anomalies and the behavioural therapies that might improve them.

Source: ANI
LIN/P
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
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
View all

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

More News on:
Snoring Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking Periodic Limb Movement Disorder REM Behavior Disorder Sleep Disturbances In Women Sleep Insomnia Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorders: A Prelude 

Recommended Reading
Understanding ‘Memory’
Yoga is an ancient Hindu discipline. The goal of Yoga is union with the higher consciousness...
Natural Compound in Grapes, Tea and Cocoa Helps to Enhance Memory
A study of mice has shown that a natural compound found in blueberries, tea, grapes, and cocoa has ....
Drink A Little Wine to Boost Your Memory
Researchers from the University of Auckland say that moderate levels of alcohol consumption, ......
Insomnia
Difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep is known as insomnia. It is a symptom that occurs due...
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea should be suspected in overweight middle aged adults who snore loudly and w...
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder which causes repetitive cramping or jerki...
REM Behavior Disorder
REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) is a sleep disorder in which the person acts out dramatic or violent dre...
Sleep
Sleep is a behavioral state of restricted physical activity. It is controlled by our internal biolo...
Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes - An urge to move, usually due to uncomfortable sensations that...
Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking or “Somnambulism,” is a type of parasomnia and has medico-legal implications...
Sleep Disorders: A Prelude
Sleep disorders include difficulty falling/staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, ex...
Sleep Disturbances In Women
The physical, emotional and hormonal changes that occur in women during puberty, menstrual cycle, pr...
Snoring
Turbulent airflow causes tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate and the noise produced by these v...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

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
open close
CONSULT A DOCTOR
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)