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Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in Science |

Cultured neurons also sleep laboratory

Cultured neurons also sleep laboratory

Sleep is bewildering. We spent two thirds of our lives sleeping, 24 years, much dreaming and barely know anything about sleep and dreams. Some things are clear, and that if we do not sleep we die or if we do not too. Others suggest that served to reorder our mind. Now a new study reveals that neurons cultured in a laboratory container just synchronizing on an activity very similar to the dream.

All animals sleep . A clear explanation is that they are awake only when interested. Being awake the rest of the time causes energy expenditure and exposure to dangers in no benefits to life. As an example, some bats sleep 20 hours a day and is only awake in the hours that can trap mosquitoes. Many animals hibernate. Even plants have long periods of inactivity when the weather is not conducive.

Rest also has a restorative function obvious. Replenished many elements damaged or worn during daily activity. Our experience is evident in this, we went to bed tired and wake up rested.

What is less clear is the function of dreaming. Birds and mammals have REM sleep stages, in which we dream. We know this because the waves of EEG and EEG are recognizable because the eyes move rapidly (Rapid Eye Movement). REM sleep cycles in humans are well known. About five periods at night, early in the short and long and intense it just before awakening. Although neuronal activity during REM sleep is similar to daytime waking moments, there is muscle weakness. It’s like she needed additional protection mechanism so that the muscles do not obey the mandates of sleep.

Dolphins dream with half a brain. Although it can overcome obstacles and move freely. This suggests that need to dream like other mammals but can not completely disconnect the environment.

The content of dreams has been the subject of speculation since the earliest times. Neither the ancient oracles and the flowery explanations have helped interpret Freud. In a recent experiment has shown that rats dream, like us, with the day’s events. In the hippocampus calls are place cells that position us in the physical environment. The evidence from the study is that rats during sleep mentally walking the labyrinth in which they have been during the day. And when they hear, while dreaming, a sound associated with “food is to the right”, right cells of the hippocampus are activated. This further suggests that we can manipulate dreams. We also know that we can learn while we sleep .

Quite likely dream to reorder mental contents. The analogy with computers is tempting . A large data processing center (eg a bank) transactions processed during the day serving customers. But running overnight batch processes, batch, which convert all data and make backups. It’s as if they conduct a defragment your hard disk on a home. An essential part of the dream seems to compress the information, extract the relevant consolidate the long-term memory and forget the rest.

They do not know how exactly, but the truth is that neurons are synchronized, while soar. They do this by showing a characteristic waves that can be measured in the EEG and are called alpha, beta, gamma … We believe that consciousness is in part the result of synchronizing remote areas of the brain: to think of an apple soar while the areas responsible for its smell, its form, its name, our experiences with apples …

Cultured neurons also sleep laboratory image 2

The new experiment is fascinating. Brain waves are recognizable Sleep: REM and slow wave sleep. By growing neurons in a laboratory is that they tend to spontaneously synchronize their activity. In a very slow, much slower than the dream, but with a similar pattern. When a cocktail of neurotransmitters sumistra to cultured neurons, these are activated as if waking. Some time later, recovered its slow pace and return to sleep.

Neurons do not need to be within a brain to sleep, take him deep inside him.

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