Tag Archives: Memory consolidation

Coffee enhances memory consolidation

16 Dec

Consistent with previous research, a study published in Nature Neuroscience reports that caffeine enhances memory consolidation.

“We used post-study caffeine administration to test its effect on memory consolidation using a behavioral discrimination task. Caffeine enhanced performance 24 h after administration according to an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve; this effect was specific to consolidation and not retrieval. We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”

 

Sleep deprivation associated with changes in brain micro-structure

9 Oct

A paper from PLOS , “Widespread Changes in White Matter Microstructure after a Day of Waking and Sleep Deprivation.”

From the PLOS Blog:

“Neuroscientists from Norway set out to answer this question in their recent PLOS ONE study, examining how a night forgoing sleep affects brain microstructure. Among their findings, sleep deprivation induced widespread structural alterations throughout the brain.”

“My hypothesis,” says first author Dr. Torbjørn Elvsåshagen, “would be that the putative effects of one night of sleep deprivation on white matter microstructure are short term and reverse after one to a few nights of normal sleep. However, it could be hypothesized that chronic sleep insufficiency might lead to longer-lasting alterations in brain structure. Consistent with this idea, evidence for an association between impaired sleep and localized cortical thinning was found in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, mild cognitive impairment and community-dwelling adults. Whether chronic sleep insufficiency can lead to longer-lasting alterations in white matter structure remains to be clarified.”

Sleep and memory

4 Oct

One of the great mysteries in biology is the purpose of sleep. Sleep seems like an evolutionary extravagance. Why would an organism put itself into this state of depressed alertness and risk predation?

For almost a century we have known that sleep plays a role in memory consolidation. This suggests that memory must be highly adaptive. Memory must be worth the cost it extracts from us in the form of sleep.

Here is an article about recent research that finds that sleep promotes important biological changes in the brain.

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