May 02 2012

Science Daily: "Why Sleep Is Needed To Form Memories"

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are working to understand how the brain changes during sleep. It is their conclusion that our brains act in fundamentally different ways when we are sleeping than when we are awake. This article is devoted to the significance of sleep on our memory formation at a molecular level. Link

For more on sleep and memory formation try

1. Science Daily, “Sleep Makes Your Memories Stronger, and Helps With Creativity”

2. Science Daily, “Sleep Strengthens you Memory”

Credit: Marcos Frank, PhD University of Pennsylvania Read the article at Science Daily About the picture: The world as the brain sees it. Optical ‘polar’ maps of the visual cortex are generated by measuring micro-changes in blood oxygenation as the left eye (left panel) or right eye is stimulated by bars of light of different orientations (0-180 degrees). The cortical response to each stimulus is pseudo-colored to represent the orientation that best activates visual cortical neurons. If vision is blocked in an eye (the right eye in this example) during a critical period of development, neurons no longer respond to input from the deprived eye pathway (indicated by a loss of color in the right panel) and begin to respond preferentially to the non-deprived eye pathway. These changes are accompanied by alterations in synaptic connections in single neurons. This process, known as ocular dominance plasticity, is enhanced by sleep via activation of NMDA receptors and intracellular kinase activity. Through these mechanisms, sleep strengthens synaptic connections in the non-deprived eye pathway.