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By Linda Carroll It took almost two years for Nicole Delien’s family to find someone who could explain the mysterious illness that was making their little girl “sleep” for as long as 64 days. During those excruciating 21 months doctors diagnosed everything from West Nile to epilepsy. Some even suggested that Nicole’s parents might be drugging her or somehow manipulating her sleep – an accusation that led to a report to Child Protective Services. Finally, when the family was at their wits end, they found Dr. Michael Rancurello at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, who diagnosed Nicole, 17, with an exceedingly rare disorder called Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Rancurello wasn’t an expert in the syndrome, but by chance he’d already treated several patients with the disorder that periodically sends patients into a strange state in which they alternate between long stretches of actual sleep and periods of semi conscious delirium. Nicole was 6 years old when contracted a virus that seems to have sparked her condition. “In the beginning we thought she had the flu because she had flu-like symptoms and a high fever,” Vicki Delien, Nicole’s mom, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “But then she just became, as the days progressed, more confused and lethargic. We didn’t know what was going on. “ © 2012 NBCNews.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17521 - Posted: 11.21.2012

By Ferris Jabr After Thanksgiving dinner, many people start to feel a little drowsy. Turkey typically gets the blame. It supposedly contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that is sold in a purified form to help people fall asleep. But turkey contains about the same amount of tryptophan as chicken, beef and other meats. If Thanksgiving drowsiness is not about the main course, what is responsible? It may have more to do with the side dishes. To understand, we first need to digest a little food chemistry. To start, we get tryptophan and other essential amino acids from all the protein in our diet, not just from meat. These amino acids swim through the bloodstream, nourishing our cells. Brain cells convert tryptophan into a chemical called serotonin. This neurotransmitter helps regulate sleep and appetite and high levels of serotonin are associated with calm and relaxation. But tryptophan and other amino acids can’t access brain cells on their own—instead, teams of proteins transport amino acids across the blood-brain barrier. As it turns out, Thanksgiving side dishes probably make it easier for tryptophan to get inside the brain. © 2012 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17520 - Posted: 11.21.2012

By Alyssa A. Botelho When Jerry Berrier dreams, he hears and touches and smells and talks, but he doesn’t see. Blind since birth, he rarely remembers his dreams, however, because his sleep has been so poor. At 15, Berrier had both of his eyes removed and lost the little light perception he had as a child. Ever since, the Everett resident, now 60, has battled a vicious sleep cycle — a few days of sleep followed by weeks of hardly any. The bouts of sleeplessness come suddenly and subside without warning. When they hit, Berrier can’t sleep more than a couple hours a night, no matter how tired he is. Though physicians haven’t given him a formal diagnosis, scientists believe he suffers from a rare condition called non-24 sleep-wake disorder, or “non-24.” The chronic condition is characterized by a body clock that is out of synch with the 24-hour cycle of the Earth day. Non-24 can affect those with normal vision, but it especially plagues the totally blind who can’t perceive light, the strongest external signal that keeps the brain’s sleep-wake cycle aligned to the pattern of night and day. Of approximately 100,000 totally blind people in the United States, anywhere from 55 percent to 70 percent of them may suffer from non-24, according to Harvard neuroscientist Steven Lockley, one of the lead researchers in an ongoing clinical trial investigating sleep disorders in the blind. With 25 sites around the country, it’s the largest study of non-24 to date. Berrier is a participant in Boston. The toll of having an internal clock in competition with the 24-hour world can be high, adding another layer of challenge to life without sight. © 2012 NY Times Co.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 17514 - Posted: 11.20.2012

By Wynne Parry and LiveScience The realm of sleep and dreams has long been associated with strangeness: omens or symbols, unconscious impulses and fears. But this sometimes disturbing world of inner turmoil, fears and desires is grounded in our day-to-day experience, sleep researchers say. "The structure and content of thinking looks very much like the structure and content of dreaming. They may be the product of the same machine," said Matthew Wilson, a neuroscientist at MIT and a panelist at the New York Academy of Sciences discussion "The Strange Science of Sleep and Dreams" on Friday (Nov. 9). His work and others' explores the crucial link between dreams and learning and memory. Dreams allow the brain to work through its conscious experiences. During them, the brain appears to apply the same neurological machinery used during the day to examine the past, the future and other aspects of a person's (or animal's) inner world at night. Memory is the manifestation of this inner world, Wilson said. "What we remember is the result of dreams rather than the other way around," he said. His work, and that of fellow panelist Erin Wamsley, a sleep scientist at Beth Israel Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, focuses on the relationship between memory and dreams in non-REM sleep. Vivid dreams often occur during REM sleep, named for the rapid eye movement associated with it, however, non-REM sleep also brings dreams but they are more fragmentary. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17479 - Posted: 11.13.2012

Mo Costandi General anaesthetics induce a coma-like state within seconds, allowing patients to be operated on without feeling pain or discomfort. Yet very little is known about how these drugs work. Now research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1 shows that they change the activity of specific regions of the brain and make it difficult for the different parts to talk to each other. Neuroscientist Laura Lewis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and her colleagues used microelectrodes to measure the activity of single cells and networks of neurons in the brains of three people who were about to undergo neurosurgery for epilepsy. Each patient was given a single dose of the general anaesthetic propofol, and their ability to respond to auditory stimuli was used to determine when they slipped into unconsciousness. The researchers found that loss of consciousness coincided with the rapid onset of brain waves known as slow oscillations. “We were surprised to find that slow oscillations began so abruptly,” says Lewis. “Their onset was sudden, and precisely timed to when patients lost consciousness.” The oscillations started at different times in different regions of the cerebral cortex, and individual neurons became markedly less active overall, with their activity spiking at the same time as the slow oscillations in that region. © 2012 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17460 - Posted: 11.06.2012

By OLIVER SACKS HALLUCINATIONS are very startling and frightening: you suddenly see, or hear or smell something — something that is not there. Your immediate, bewildered feeling is, what is going on? Where is this coming from? The hallucination is convincingly real, produced by the same neural pathways as actual perception, and yet no one else seems to see it. And then you are forced to the conclusion that something — something unprecedented — is happening in your own brain or mind. Are you going insane, getting dementia, having a stroke? In other cultures, hallucinations have been regarded as gifts from the gods or the Muses, but in modern times they seem to carry an ominous significance in the public (and also the medical) mind, as portents of severe mental or neurological disorders. Having hallucinations is a fearful secret for many people — millions of people — never to be mentioned, hardly to be acknowledged to oneself, and yet far from uncommon. The vast majority are benign — and, indeed, in many circumstances, perfectly normal. Most of us have experienced them from time to time, during a fever or with the sensory monotony of a desert or empty road, or sometimes, seemingly, out of the blue. Many of us, as we lie in bed with closed eyes, awaiting sleep, have so-called hypnagogic hallucinations — geometric patterns, or faces, sometimes landscapes. Such patterns or scenes may be almost too faint to notice, or they may be very elaborate, brilliantly colored and rapidly changing — people used to compare them to slide shows. At the other end of sleep are hypnopompic hallucinations, seen with open eyes, upon first waking. These may be ordinary (an intensification of color perhaps, or someone calling your name) or terrifying (especially if combined with sleep paralysis) — a vast spider, a pterodactyl above the bed, poised to strike. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 17452 - Posted: 11.05.2012

By Laura Sanders Anesthesiologists aren’t totally lying when they say they’re going to put you to sleep. Some anesthetics directly tap into sleep-promoting neurons in the brain, a study in mice reveals. The results may help clarify how drugs that have been used around the world for decades actually put someone under. “It’s kind of shocking that after 170 years, we still don’t understand why they work,” says study coauthor Max Kelz of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Most neurons in the brain appear to be calmed by anesthetics, says neuropharmacologist and anesthesiologist Hugh Hemmings Jr. of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. But the new results, published online October 25 in Current Biology, show that two common anesthetics actually stimulate sleep-inducing neurons. “It’s unusual for neurons to be excited by anesthetics,” Hemmings says. In the study, Kelz, Jason Moore, also of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues studied the effects of the anesthetics isoflurane and halothane. Mice given the drugs soon became sleepy, as expected. Along with this drowsiness came a jump in nerve cell activity in a part of the brain’s hypothalamus called the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus, or VLPO. Not all neurons in the VLPO are the same. Some are involved in kicking off sleep, while neighboring neurons don’t seem to play a role. The anesthetics affected only the VLPO neurons that promote sleep, Moore and his colleagues found. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17425 - Posted: 10.27.2012

By Daisy Yuhas We're all familiar with the feeling—waking up from a restless night only to realize that this will be a very long, sleepy day. Recent research reveals that honeybees are also sensitive to sleep deprivation, and although a cup of coffee may give you a morning buzz, the bees aren't so lucky. Neurobiologists at the Free University of Berlin have found that sleepy bees fail to remember lessons learned the day before, a finding that could help scientists discover the neural processes involved in sleep and memory formation. They present their research October 25 in the Journal of Experimental Biology. "We started with the idea that we could look for a neural substrate of learning and memory in bees, since they have a wonderful memory, can be easily trained, and we know their brain well at the neuronal level," says study co-author Randolf Menzel. After characterizing how honeybees find their way home when released in a new location, the scientists captured and then released bees in unfamiliar territory some 600 meters from their hive. In addition to tracking how long the bees needed to return home, the researchers monitored bee sleep. Bees take brief naps throughout the day in addition to longer periods of nocturnal sleep. (Snoozing bees are easy to spot because their antennae droop.) The scientists made their observations both by watching bees in person and by tracking their activity via radio-frequency devices that they glued onto some of the insects. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17424 - Posted: 10.27.2012

by Sara Reardon Sleeping helps us reset our brains and calm our emotions. Perhaps it can do more, though: if sleepers are exposed to odours they associate with bad memories, it appears they can lose the fear those memories bring. Previous studies have shown that sleep helps eliminate fear in general. But whether it is possible to focus this effect through the careful use of odours has not been tested in humans. Katherina Hauner and Jay Gottfried of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, exposed subjects to four pictures of faces and a series of inoffensive smells such as mint. When one of the faces appeared, the volunteers got a painful electric shock. Afterwards, the researchers measured the amount of electricity conducted by the subjects' skin – a measure that goes up when afraid, because the sweat produced is a good conductor. The researchers found that conductance spiked whenever the volunteers saw the face associated with the shock. They then let half the subjects sleep, and exposed this group to variable amounts of the odour that had been presented along with the "painful" face. The next day, these volunteers were much less afraid of the face – and those with the least fear were those that had received the highest exposure to the odour while asleep. Brain scans also showed that brain areas associated with fear and with memory were less active after this exposure. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 17: Learning and Memory; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17422 - Posted: 10.25.2012

By Scicurious Picture this: the prince has won his way past the dragon, past the huge walls of briars. He paces slowly through the sleeping castle, toward the tower where the princess lies, in a deep, deep sleep. Finally he sees her, leans over her lovely form… …and gently inserts a probe into her brain, letting a yellow light activate her locus coeruleus. Within moments, the princess awakes. Now THAT’S a kiss. I’ll admit, this post isn’t about sleeping beauty. Instead, it’s about sleep-wake transitions, and how they might work. And the answer involves an up and coming molecule, hypocretin (aka orexin), and an area of the brain called the locus coeruleus (LC). And it involves mice, who are little sleeping beauties in their own way. We’ll start with hypocretin (or orexin*). Hypocretin is a small peptide released from the hypothalamus of the brain. It’s a very recently discovered molecule (published in 1998), and has been enjoying a recent explosion in popularity, due to its interesting involvement in drug addiction and feeding behavior, and its very clear role in sleep. You see, hypocretin controls sleep/wake cycles by mediating what we call “arousal” (which is not that, though it’s that, too). Neurons that produce hypocretin are silent while you are asleep, but burst of firing and the release of hypocretin from these neurons comes immediately before wakefulness. And hypocretin is such a strong mediator of sleep/wake transitions that loss of hypocretin produces some very striking narcolepsy. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17411 - Posted: 10.23.2012

By ERIC NAGOURNEY There are any number of reasons you might be up at 2 in the morning instead of snuggled asleep in bed. Maybe you are finishing some work — an article, say, that you owe the editor of that new Booming blog. Maybe you are one of those people who decided to have a baby at an age when parents would once have been making their last tuition payments. Or maybe the condo you bought over that all-night bowling alley was so cheap for a reason. But there could be another explanation. Maybe you are not asleep because you can’t sleep. As baby boomers age, many may find that a basic act they once took for granted (or intentionally neglected) has become a lot more complicated. They are finding it harder to get to sleep or stay asleep, and they may feel the consequences during the day. “The older we get, the more likely we are to develop sleep problems,” said Dr. William C. Kohler, a Florida sleep specialist and a past official of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is not to say that trouble sleeping is inevitable. “Healthy aging is not necessarily associated with poor sleep,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, a director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center. “Some people have this sense that ‘Oh, I’m just going to sleep badly when I get older, because that’s what happens to everybody.'” That said (and you knew this was coming), even in the absence of illness, as people age, the “sleep architecture,” as Dr. Watson put it, tends to change. They spend less time in deep non-REM sleep. And all the while, their old circadian rhythm is shifting ever earlier for reasons no one really understands. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17403 - Posted: 10.22.2012

Results of a new study presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, has suggested the right hemisphere of the brain performs important tasks during its resting state, implying different end results for left-handed people and right-handed people, who use the right and left sides of their brains differently. Findings showed that when resting, the right hemisphere of the brain communicates more with itself and the left side of the brain, than when the left hemisphere talks to itself and communicates to the right side of the brain, regardless of participants' dominant hand. Neuroscientists did note that right-handed people used their left hemisphere at a higher rate, and vice versa. The authors of this study say that during rest, the right hemisphere is "doing important things, we don't yet understand." The activities that are being processed by the right hemisphere could be storing and processing acquired information, daydreaming, or similar creative tasks. Andrei Medvedev, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging at Georgetown explains: The researchers had 15 participants connect to near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) equipment. This inexpensive and moveable technology uses light to calculate changes in oxygenated hemoglobin inside the body. Participants wore a hat that contained optical fibers delivering infrared light to the outermost layers of the brain and then assessed the light that bounced back. Through this method, the device could see which parts of the brain are active and communicate at the highest rate, based on heightened use of oxygen in the blood and elevated simultaneous occurrence of their activities.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17397 - Posted: 10.20.2012

Mo Costandi Scientists have learned how to discover what you are dreaming about while you sleep. A team of researchers led by Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, used functional neuroimaging to scan the brains of three people as they slept, simultaneously recording their brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG). The researchers woke the participants whenever they detected the pattern of brain waves associated with sleep onset, asked them what they had just dreamed about, and then asked them to go back to sleep. This was done in three-hour blocks, and repeated between seven and ten times, on different days, for each participant. During each block, participants were woken up ten times per hour. Each volunteer reported having visual dreams six or seven times every hour, giving the researchers a total of around 200 dream reports. Most of the dreams reflected everyday experiences, but some contained unusual content, such as talking to a famous actor. The researchers extracted key words from the participants’ verbal reports, and picked 20 categories — such as 'car', 'male', 'female', and 'computer' — that appeared most frequently in their dream reports. Kamitani and his colleagues then selected photos representing each category, scanned the participants’ brains again while they viewed the images, and compared brain activity patterns with those recorded just before the participants were woken up. © 2012 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 17396 - Posted: 10.20.2012

There was nothing sweet about Kaitlyn Terrana's 16th birthday. And she has virtually no recollection of her last birthday, her 17th, either. She slept through both of them. At a time when the teenager should be living each day to the fullest, she is trapped in a roughly six-week cycle in which she has no choice but to take to her bed, slumbering for about 10 days at a time. Kaitlyn has developed an extremely rare condition called Kleine-Levin syndrome, or KLS, and it is stealing her life away. "Kind of like the day before, I start feeling really tired and it's really hard for me to focus in class," she says from her home in Winona, Ont., near Hamilton. "And then after that, I'm just gone for 10 days. I have to sleep, I can't stay awake." Her mom, Kathy Terrana, has to closely monitor Kaitlyn when she experiences one of these sleeping periods, saying her daughter can't be left alone. "In the beginning of her episodes, she starts off being very, very tired," she says. "By late evening I can usually tell that, yes, she is starting an episode, because she doesn't talk, she doesn't converse with anybody. "It's not very nice to say, but it's almost like she's a walking zombie, because when they're in their episodes they can be walking around but they don't know what's going on around them. So there's no empathy, there's no feeling whatsoever. She's in a complete fog." © CBC 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17348 - Posted: 10.09.2012

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News Too many people may be damaging their health by self-medicating with sleeping pills, according to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. It said half of people with insomnia diagnosed themselves and took medication without seeking medical advice. However, the society said insomnia was often part of other physical or mental health problems which needed treating. The warning was based on the findings of a survey of 2,077 people. Insomnia is difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep or getting enough good quality sleep night after night. One in three people in the UK are thought to have bouts of insomnia. It can be caused by psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Other illnesses including heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and hormonal problems can also disturb the normal pattern of sleep. In the survey, 30% of people said they had taken sleeping pills for more than a month without getting advice while 14% had gone six months. One pharmacist, Paul Johnson, said: "It's worrying that so many people are overusing sleeping remedies. "They can be effective for short-term treatment of mild insomnia but should not be taken for long periods without advice because they can hide a serious health problem which could get worse if it remains untreated. BBC © 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17309 - Posted: 09.27.2012

By DAVID K. RANDALL SOMETIME in the dark stretch of the night it happens. Perhaps it’s the chime of an incoming text message. Or your iPhone screen lights up to alert you to a new e-mail. Or you find yourself staring at the ceiling, replaying the day in your head. Next thing you know, you’re out of bed and engaged with the world, once again ignoring the often quoted fact that eight straight hours of sleep is essential. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Thanks in part to technology and its constant pinging and chiming, roughly 41 million people in the United States — nearly a third of all working adults — get six hours or fewer of sleep a night, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And sleep deprivation is an affliction that crosses economic lines. About 42 percent of workers in the mining industry are sleep-deprived, while about 27 percent of financial or insurance industry workers share the same complaint. Typically, mention of our ever increasing sleeplessness is followed by calls for earlier bedtimes and a longer night’s sleep. But this directive may be part of the problem. Rather than helping us to get more rest, the tyranny of the eight-hour block reinforces a narrow conception of sleep and how we should approach it. Some of the time we spend tossing and turning may even result from misconceptions about sleep and our bodily needs: in fact neither our bodies nor our brains are built for the roughly one-third of our lives that we spend in bed. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17292 - Posted: 09.25.2012

Drivers who take certain antidepressants, anti-anxiety or sleeping pills could be at higher risk for motor vehicle collisions. Psychotropic drugs can impair a driver's ability to control a vehicle, but there's been less research on newer drugs used to treat insomnia. To learn more, researchers in Taiwan compared drug use among 5,183 people involved in motor vehicle accidents with a second group of 31,093 people of the same age and gender who went for outpatient care between 2000 and 2009. In Thursday's issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, they concluded that those taking two types of antidepressants, sleep aids known as Z-drugs, and benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety and insomnia, face increased risk of motor vehicle accidents compared with people not taking those types of drugs. The antidepressants studied included selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs like paroxitine or Paxil and fluoxetine or Prozac and tricyclic or TCA antidepressants such as amiptriptyline. "The findings underscore that subjects taking these psychotropic medications should pay increased attention to their driving performance in order to prevent …motor vehicle accidents," lead researcher Hui-Ju Tsai, of the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan, and co-authors concluded. © CBC 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 17256 - Posted: 09.13.2012

The U.S. national campaign to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome has entered a new phase and will now encompass all sleep-related, sudden unexpected infant deaths, officials of the National Institutes of Health announced today. The campaign, which has been known as the Back to Sleep Campaign, has been renamed the Safe to Sleep Campaign. The NIH-led Back to Sleep Campaign began in 1994, to educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The campaign name was derived from the recommendation to place healthy infants on their backs to sleep, a practice proven to reduce SIDS risk. SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age that cannot be explained, even after a complete death scene investigation, autopsy, and review of the infant's health history. Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) includes all unexpected infant deaths: those due to SIDS, and as well as those from other causes. Many SUID cases are due to such causes as accidental suffocation and entrapment, such as when an infant gets trapped between a mattress and a wall, or when bedding material presses on or wraps around an infant’s neck. In addition to stressing the placement of infants on their backs for all sleep times, the Safe to Sleep Campaign emphasizes other ways to provide a safe sleep environment for infants. This includes placing infants to sleep in their own safe sleep environment and not on an adult bed, without any soft bedding such as blankets or quilts. Safe to Sleep also emphasizes breast feeding infants when possible, which has been associated with reduced SIDS risk, and eliminating such risks to infant health as overheating, exposure to tobacco smoke, and a mother’s use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17254 - Posted: 09.13.2012

By Elizabeth Quill Half a dozen times each night, your slumbering body performs a remarkable feat of coordination. During the deepest throes of sleep, the body’s support systems run on their own timetables. Nerve cells hum along in your brain, their chitchat generating slow waves that signal sleep’s nether stages. Yet, like buses and trains with overlapping routes but unsynchronized schedules, this neural conversation has little to say to your heart, which pumps blood to its own rhythm through the body’s arteries and veins. Air likewise skips into the nostrils and down the windpipe in seemingly random spits and spats. And muscle fluctuations that make the legs twitch come and go as if in a vacuum. Networks of muscles, of brain cells, of airways and lungs, of heart and vessels operate largely independently. Every couple of hours, though, in as little as 30 seconds, the barriers break down. Suddenly, there’s synchrony. All the disjointed activity of deep sleep starts to connect with its surroundings. Each network — run via the group effort of its own muscular, cellular and molecular players — joins the larger team. This change, marking the transition from deep to light sleep, has only recently been understood in detail — thanks to a new look at when and how the body’s myriad networks link up to form an übernetwork. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 17235 - Posted: 09.10.2012

Mo Costandi It sounds like every student's dream: research published today in Nature Neuroscience shows that we can learn entirely new information while we snooze1. Anat Arzi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and her colleagues used a simple form of learning called classical conditioning to teach 55 healthy participants to associate odours with sounds as they slept. They repeatedly exposed the sleeping participants to pleasant odours, such as deodorant and shampoo, and unpleasant odours such as rotting fish and meat, and played a specific sound to accompany each scent. It is well known that sleep has an important role in strengthening existing memories, and this conditioning was already known to alter sniffing behaviour in people who are awake. The subjects sniff strongly when they hear a tone associated with a pleasant smell, but only weakly in response to a tone associated with an unpleasant one. But the latest research shows that the sleep conditioning persists even after they wake up, causing them to sniff strongly or weakly on hearing the relevant tone — even if there was no odour. The participants were completely unaware that they had learned the relationship between smells and sounds. The effect was seen regardless of when the conditioning was done during the sleep cycle. However, the sniffing responses were slightly more pronounced in those participants who learned the association during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, which typically occurs during the second half of a night's sleep. © 2012 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17208 - Posted: 08.27.2012