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Deep sleep maintains learning efficiency of the human brain


Fattinger, Sara; de Beukelaar, Toon T; Ruddy, Kathy L; Volk, Carina; Heyse, Natalie C; Herbst, Joshua A; Hahnloser, Richard H R; Wenderoth, Nicole; Huber, Reto (2017). Deep sleep maintains learning efficiency of the human brain. Nature Communications, 8:15405.

Abstract

It is hypothesized that deep sleep is essential for restoring the brain's capacity to learn efficiently, especially in regions heavily activated during the day. However, causal evidence in humans has been lacking due to the inability to sleep deprive one target area while keeping the natural sleep pattern intact. Here we introduce a novel approach to focally perturb deep sleep in motor cortex, and investigate the consequences on behavioural and neurophysiological markers of neuroplasticity arising from dedicated motor practice. We show that the capacity to undergo neuroplastic changes is reduced by wakefulness but restored during unperturbed sleep. This restorative process is markedly attenuated when slow waves are selectively perturbed in motor cortex, demonstrating that deep sleep is a requirement for maintaining sustainable learning efficiency.

Abstract

It is hypothesized that deep sleep is essential for restoring the brain's capacity to learn efficiently, especially in regions heavily activated during the day. However, causal evidence in humans has been lacking due to the inability to sleep deprive one target area while keeping the natural sleep pattern intact. Here we introduce a novel approach to focally perturb deep sleep in motor cortex, and investigate the consequences on behavioural and neurophysiological markers of neuroplasticity arising from dedicated motor practice. We show that the capacity to undergo neuroplastic changes is reduced by wakefulness but restored during unperturbed sleep. This restorative process is markedly attenuated when slow waves are selectively perturbed in motor cortex, demonstrating that deep sleep is a requirement for maintaining sustainable learning efficiency.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Neuroinformatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:22 May 2017
Deposited On:23 Jun 2017 09:42
Last Modified:07 Aug 2017 04:43
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15405
PubMed ID:28530229

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