Sleep Deprivation Disrupts Temporal Lobe Neural Response

Why your brain stops working when you get tired: Lack of sleep makes cells lose the ability to talk to each other

Scientists have now discovered that the actual problem with sleep deprivation is that your brain cells switch off while you are still awake, leading to anything from forgetting your keys to auto crashes.

A new study has explained how sleep deprivation leads to temporary mental lapses that affect memory and visual perception.

"We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly", said the...

"The acute effects of a lack of sleep can also cause cognitive and behavioral lapses that contribute to accident-induced injury or death", the researchers write.

Fried led an worldwide team in studying 12 UCLA epileptic patients who had electrodes implanted in their brains in order to pinpoint the origin of their seizures prior to surgery.

Researchers tested 12 exhausted epileptic patients who had electrodes implanted into their brains to pinpoint the origin of their seizures.

The team asked these patients to categorize a number of images as fast as they could.


Researchers recorded activity directly from neurons in the brains of 12 people, NPR reports. To identify memory recall and visual perception accurately, the researchers carefully looked at how temporal lobe neurons responded.

As the patients became sleepier, the task became harder due to a slowdown in the communication between brain cells, the researchers observed. In these patients, Freud said "the neurons are responding slower". Too little shuteye interfered with the neurons' ability to encode information and translate visual input into conscious thought. Thus, nedospaty the man behind the wheel of a auto may simply not notice the pedestrian in front. The driver's brain will take longer to register what they are seeing, resulting in a slower intended response of navigating to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

The team further reports that this sluggish neuronal activity was also accompanied by slower brain wave patterns in the same region of the brain.

"Slow sleep-like waves disrupted the patients' brain activity and performance of tasks", explains Dr. Fried says this suggests that certain regions of the brain were "dozing, causing mental lapses" while the rest was trying to stay awake and run as usual.

"Severe fatigue exerts a similar influence on the brain to drinking too much", Fried said. He believes that there should be legal and medical standards in place to identify worn out drivers on the road. The study noted that the major and most risky effects on brain cells can be seen in sleep-deprived drivers.

In future research, Fried and his colleagues plan to more deeply explore the benefits of sleep, and to unravel the mechanism responsible for the cellular glitches that precede mental lapses.

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