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Fast-Forward Playback of Recent Memory Sequences in Prefrontal Cortex During Sleep

Science  16 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5853, pp. 1147-1150
DOI: 10.1126/science.1148979

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Abstract

As previously shown in the hippocampus and other brain areas, patterns of firing-rate correlations between neurons in the rat medial prefrontal cortex during a repetitive sequence task were preserved during subsequent sleep, suggesting that waking patterns are reactivated. We found that, during sleep, reactivation of spatiotemporal patterns was coherent across the network and compressed in time by a factor of 6 to 7. Thus, when behavioral constraints are removed, the brain's intrinsic processing speed may be much faster than it is in real time. Given recent evidence implicating the medial prefrontal cortex in retrieval of long-term memories, the observed replay may play a role in the process of memory consolidation.

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