Study: Elderly Memory Loss Due to Lack of Deep Sleep
January 29, 2013 8:23 AM
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Slow waves are generated by the middle frontal lobe, and as this region deteriorates with age, the elderly tend to lose the ability to experience long REM sleep
University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found a connection between the amount of sleep one gets in their old age and the
quality of their memory
The UC Berkeley team, led by Matthew Walker, believes that forgetfulness in old age may be attributed to a lack of deep, non-rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep.
According to the study, the slow brain waves produced during deep REM sleep help move memories from the hippocampus (short-term memory storage in the brain) to the prefrontal cortex (long-term memory in the brain) while we are young. But as we grow older, memories tend to get trapped in the hippocampus because we receive less REM sleep.
Also, these slow waves are generated by the middle frontal lobe, and as this region deteriorates with age, the elderly tend to lose the ability to experience long REM sleep.
“What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older – and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue,” said Walker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley.
The study took a look at 18 healthy young adults in their 20s and 15 healthy older adults in their 70s. Before going to bed, all participants learned 120 word sets. They then
went to sleep
while an electroencephalographic (EEG) machine measured their brain waves.
In the morning, all participants were tested on their word sets once again while both functional and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans were conducted.
The team found that the elderly participants had a 75 percent lower quality of deep sleep than the younger crowd, and their memory with the word sets was 55 percent lower too. The study noted that the younger participants had a longer deep sleep, which helped with the memory sets.
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Not exactly real convincing
1/29/2013 6:28:08 PM
I conducted some sleep studies and found that elderly people can achieve deep sleep more easily if they have 6 shots of whiskey a 1/2 hour before bed time. I only tested this on 25 seniors but their deep stage sleep results were improved in 100% of those in the study.
RE: Not exactly real convincing
1/30/2013 11:09:58 AM
Actually, large amounts of alcohol prevent deep sleep very efficiently. Did you have 6 shots of whiskey 1/2 hour before writing your test report?
RE: Not exactly real convincing
1/31/2013 3:00:38 AM
I beg to differ, Back in my clubbing days of getting shitfaced I had some of the best sleep ever, Was lucky to wake up the next day at all. If you have enough alcohol it will knock you out no problem, Geez I remember one time being woken up on a public footy oval by a street sweeper truck driver. Where I fell is where I slept like a log until someone checked to see if I was dead or alive ;)
Ahhh fond memories.
P.S. I don't touch the shit AT ALL these days too old to put up with the hangovers. I remember everything about the night out all the way up to walking off the footpath away from view so I could throw up, then remember staggering to oval after that I guess I decided to sleep on the oval.
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