Memory and “The Deep Sleep”


Ron Mueck’s ‘Mask II’

It is well known that sleep is crucial for long-term memory consolidation. A study by Mander et al. at UC Berkeley provides insight into why people may forget specific information with age. In the study, the authors found that older participants (mostly in their 70’s) experienced less cycles of slow-wave sleep that was associated with poor performance on a task memory recall compared to a younger group of participants (mostly in their 20’s) that experienced more slow-wave sleep. The authors suggest that disruption in sleep in the older group could be mediated by structural brain changes that naturally occur with age (notably in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex). Mander’s study has already been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but it will be interesting to see what other subsequent responses are to come.


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