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Altered brain response to verbal learning following sleep deprivation

Nature volume 403, pages 655657 (10 February 2000) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The effects of sleep deprivation on the neural substrates of cognition are poorly understood. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the effects of 35 hours of sleep deprivation on cerebral activation during verbal learning in normal young volunteers. On the basis of a previous hypothesis1, we predicted that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) would be less responsive to cognitive demands following sleep deprivation. Contrary to our expectations, however, the PFC was more responsive after one night of sleep deprivation than after normal sleep. Increased subjective sleepiness in sleep-deprived subjects correlated significantly with activation of the PFC. The temporal lobe was activated after normal sleep but not after sleep deprivation; in contrast, the parietal lobes were not activated after normal sleep but were activated after sleep deprivation. Although sleep deprivation significantly impaired free recall compared with the rested state, better free recall in sleep-deprived subjects was associated with greater parietal lobe activation. These findings show that there are dynamic, compensatory changes in cerebral activation during verbal learning after sleep deprivation and implicate the PFC and parietal lobes in this compensation.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by an individual NRSA to S.P.A.D., a Mental Health Clinical Research Center grant from NIMH (J.C.G.), the UCSD General Clinical Research Center, the Department of Veterans Affairs research service, and the VA Desert-Pacific Healthcare Network Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC).

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Affiliations

  1. *Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego, California 92093-0603, USA

    • Sean P. A. Drummond
    • , Gregory G. Brown
    • , J. Christian Gillin
    • , John L. Stricker
    •  & Eric C. Wong
  2. §Department of Radiology, University of California San Diego, 410 Dickinson/MRI, San Diego, California 92103, USA

    • Eric C. Wong
    •  & Richard B. Buxton
  3. †Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University/University of California San Diego , 6363 Alvanado Court, Suite 103, San Diego, California 92120, USA

    • Sean P. A. Drummond
    •  & John L. Stricker
  4. ‡Psychiatry Service (116A), Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, 3,350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, California 92161, USA

    • Gregory G. Brown
    •  & J. Christian Gillin

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Correspondence to J. Christian Gillin.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/35001068

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