SLEEP RESEARCH

Sleep loss, brain structure, and learning

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Science  18 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6279, pp. 1277-1278
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6279.1277-b

Sleep loss is bad for memory formation; however, it affects some of us more than others. Saleti et al. combined memory tests, brain imaging, and sleep EEG recordings to study the interaction between brain structure, sleep loss, and cognitive performance. Individual differences in the anatomy of the human hippocampus explained many of the differences in learning impairment after sleep loss. These structural differences also predicted the subsequent EEG slow-wave activity during recovery sleep and the restoration of learning after sleep. The anatomical structure of the brain may thus represent a biomarker that predicts vulnerability to sleep loss and how easily an individual will recover.

J. Neurosci. 36, 2355 (2016).

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