Sleep and brain development
Thursday 31 May @ 4.30pm – 5.30pm (Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)
This week we are happy to be hosting a seminar by Professor Reto Huber from the University of Zürich on Thursday May 31st at 4.30pm in the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. We will go to the Rose & Crown (14 North Parade Avenue) for food and drinks after the talk, feel free to join!
Children spend half of their lives asleep. The need for sleep might be so high because sleep serves important functions for maturing brain. Alternatively, sleep might be the “default state” of neuronal networks and its amount is reduced as the waking state matures. The analysis of electrophysiological characteristics of sleep may provide some insights into these hypotheses. For example, when children, adolescents and adults perform the very same visuo-motor learning task, the local boost in EEG slow wave activity (SWA), the primary marker of sleep need, during subsequent sleep is larger in children compared to adolescent and adults. This finding indicates that SWA maps experience-dependent plasticity during critical periods of maturation. Disturbances of the normal appearance or distribution of SWA may be related to developmental deviations. For example, children with continuous spike wave epilepsy during slow wave sleep may show neurocognitive deteriorations and adolescents with an attention deficit hyperactivity or an affective disorder show decreased or increased SWA over frontal brain regions, respectively. To establish causality in these observations specific manipulations of SWA are needed. We recently used closed-loop acoustic stimulation during sleep to do so.