Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brain, Memory, and Rest

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the University of York and Harvard Medical School: Rest is vitally important for memory and cognitive functions. Your brain is working for you when you're resting during sleep as well as resting while awake. New memories are only really useful if you can connect them to information you already know. This study identified brain activity called Sleep Spindles: brief but intense bursts of brain activity that reflect information transfer between different memory stores in the brain (the hippocampus deep in the brain and the neocortex on the surface of the brain) that apparently help to organize new memories and makes those vital connections with existing knowledge. In another related study, researchers at New York University confirmed that your memories are strengthened during periods of rest even while you are awake. Is your brain getting enough rest?

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