Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

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Deciphering Sleep: Our Interview with David Rye

Why do we need to sleep? In all of human biology, few questions are more persistent – or more mythologized – than this one. Almost as puzzling as sleep itself are sleep disorders like narcolepsy and insomnia, which make us wonder why some of us need so much more sleep than others do. David Rye, […]

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Sleep, Stress and Snacks

A lack of sleep makes our brains go nuts for unhealthy food, says a new study. When sleep-deprived people are shown images of junk food, fMRI scans show that their brains’ reward centers light up with far more intense anticipation than those of people who’ve slept a full night. The Fourthmeal marketing team, I assume, […]

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Whisperers in Darkness

Last night I awoke with my head under the covers, to the sounds of strange chitterings and scratchings in the darkness around me. For a few seconds I lay frozen, hoping the sounds would fade – but they only grew louder and drew nearer – until at last, unable to stand it any longer, I […]

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“Consciousness, Dreams & Drugs” — Podcast 2

On the second Connectome podcast, I muse about three of the hottest topics in neuroscience today: what “consciousness” might be, how it relates to dreams, and how drugs can play some strange tricks on that relationship.   Click here to play or download:   Enjoy, and feel free to email us questions and suggestions for […]

Wakefulness Cells

Certain groups of neurons determine whether light keeps us awake or not, says a new study. In the hypothalamus – a brain structure responsible for regulating hormone levels – specific kinds of neurons release a hormone called hypocretin (also known as hcrt or orexin). Hypocretin lets light-sensitive cells in other parts of the brain – such […]

Brain Scans & Lucid Dreams

The brain activity of lucid dreamers – people who become aware that they’re in a dream state – shows some interesting similarities with that of people who are awake, says a new study. By studying the brain activity of lucid dreamers under electroencephalograms (EEGs) and fMRI scans, researchers have found that activity in the somatosensory […]

Enzyme Alarm Clock

Researchers have isolated a protein that sounds our biological clock’s alarm each morning, a new study reports. A gene known as KDM5A codes for an enzyme (i.e., a protein that increases the rate of a chemical reaction) called JARID1a. This enzyme acts as a switch that starts the biochemical process of waking us from sleep – like some […]

Secret Sleep Memory

Our memories for certain types of info seem to improve more during sleep than during wakefulness, a new study reports. Researchers have found that recall for pairs of words improves dramatically after a period of sleep, as does working memory capacity. An equivalent period of wakefulness results in much less improvement in these areas than sleep […]

Sleepocalypse 2011

For the first time in history, scientists have recorded functional images of brain activity as humans shift from consciousness into unconsciousness. What they’ve learned is that the process of falling asleep involves a variety of areas within the brain. Some of these areas systematically inhibit others, until an entirely different type of functional network is created: The […]

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