Wednesday April 25, 2018

Sleep spindles may help in improving memory retention

Also, the new understanding of the way the brain normally processes and strengthens memories during sleep may help to explain how that process may go wrong in people

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Sleep spindles can help in memory retention. Pixabay
Brain's memory can be affected by Depression and Anxiety. Pixabay
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  • Sleep spindles can help in retaining new memories
  • These spindles are few seconds for oscillatory bursts
  • This can help in understanding cognitive processes of the human brain

Want to strengthen your cognitive skills regarding any relevant information? Sleep spindles can help you in retaining new memories related to any newly learned information when you sleep.

brain
This research can help in understanding human cognitive processes. Pixabay

Sleep spindles are half-second to two-second bursts of oscillatory brain activity — occurring during non-rapid eye movement sleep stages two and three — and measured in the 10 to 16 Hertz range on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Previous researches had shown that the number of spindles during the night could predict a person’s memory the next day.

“While it has been shown previously that targeted memory reactivation can boost memory consolidation during sleep, we now show that sleep spindles might represent the key underlying mechanism,” said Bernhard Staresina, post-doctoral student at the University of Birmingham.

“Thus, direct induction of sleep spindles — for example, via transcranial electrical stimulation — perhaps combined with targeted memory reactivation, may enable us to further improve memory performance while we sleep.”

For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the researchers devised an experiment in which people learned to associate particular adjectives with particular objects and scenes.

Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
Sleep spindles can cause better memory.

Some study participants then took a 90-minute nap after their study session, whereas others stayed awake. While people napped, the researchers cued those associative memories and unfamiliar adjectives. The results showed that the memory cues led to an increase in sleep spindles. Interestingly, the EEG patterns during spindles enabled the researchers to discern what types of memories — objects or scenes — were being processed.

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“Our data suggest that spindles facilitate processing of relevant memory features during sleep and that this process boosts memory consolidation,” he said. Also, the new understanding of the way the brain normally processes and strengthens memories during sleep may help to explain how that process may go wrong in people with learning difficulties, the researchers added. IANS

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Stronger people have sharper brains: Study

Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health

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workout
It is best to begin your gym workout with a dynamic warm-up routine. Pixabay

 If you thought hitting the gym only builds your physical strength, think again. A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that stronger people perform better in brain functioning tests.

Muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are, said the study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.

“Our study confirms that people who are stronger do indeed tend to have better functioning brains,” said study co-author Joseph Firth from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Strong people have sharper brains. Wikimedia Commons

Using data from the 475,397 participants from all around Britain, the new study showed that on average, stronger people performed better in brain functioning tests that included reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple different tests of memory.

The study, which used UK Biobank data, showed the relationships were consistently strong in both people aged under 55 and those aged over 55. Previous studies had only shown this applies in elderly people.

The findings also showed that maximal handgrip was strongly correlated with both visual memory and reaction time in over one thousand people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Also Read: Riding a bike to work as good as gym workout: Study

“We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health,” Firth, who is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester in Britain, said. “But really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger — such as weight training,” he added. Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health. “These sorts of novel interventions, such as weight training, could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions,” Firth said.

“Our research has shown that the connections between muscular strength and brain functioning also exist in people experiencing schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder — all of which can interfere with regular brain functioning,” he added. “This raises the strong possibility that weight training exercises could actually improve both the physical and mental functioning of people with these conditions,” he said. IANS