How the brain consolidates memory during deep sleep

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Research strongly suggests that sleep, which constitutes about a third of our lives, is crucial for learning and forming long-term memories. But exactly how such memory is formed is not well understood and remains, despite considerable research, a central question of inquiry in neuroscience. Neuroscientists at the University of California, Riverside report this week in the Journal of Neuroscience that they now may have an answer to this question. Their study provides for the first time a mechanistic explanation for how deep sleep (also called slow-wave sleep) may be promoting the consolidation of recent memories. During sleep, human and animal brains are primarily decoupled from sensory input. Nevertheless, the brain remains highly active, showing electrical activity in the form of sharp-wave ripples in the hippocampus (a small…


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