Our Brain Practices Newly Learned Information While We Sleep

Our Brain Practices Newly Learned Information While We Sleep
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 New research sheds light on a conundrum that scientists have been debating for millennia. Human memory and learning may benefit from these discoveries, which were reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, if they can be used to design helpful devices for those with neurological conditions or injuries. Massachusetts General Hospital, Brown University, the Veterans Administration, and other organizations collaborated on the project.

As the main author of the research, neurologist Daniel Rubin of the MGH Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery explains, that scientists examining laboratory animals long ago found phenomena known as “replay.” There is a theory that the brain employs replay as a memory technique. Monitoring equipment can reveal that a certain arrangement of brain cells, or neurons, will light up when a mouse is taught to find its way around a labyrinth.
In order to consolidate a memory, scientists think that the brain trains freshly learned information by replaying neuronal activity during sleep. This process is known as long-term memory consolidation. Replay, on the other hand, has only been shown conclusively in laboratory animals. How accurate is this model of how we learn things in humans? There has been an open question in the neuroscience field. Is this the case for all types of learning? These were the questions researchers tried to answer.

The same process takes place in human brains

Researchers recruited a 36-year-old male with tetraplegia (sometimes known as quadriplegia), meaning he would be incapable to use his upper and lower limbs, in this instance owing to a spinal cord injury, to explore whether replay happens in the human motor cortex, the brain area that regulates movement.
According to Rubin, T11’s sleep patterns of neuronal activity mirrored precisely those that happened earlier that day when he played the memory-matching game.
This is the clearest evidence yet of sleep-related replay from the motor cortex.


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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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