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Lose Sleep, Fail To Form Memory

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the expect-dupes-if-i-miss-my-nap dept.

Medicine 85

Rambo Tribble writes: 'A research team of Chinese and American scientists claim to have witnessed the mechanism by which sleep contributes to the formation of memories. Using advanced microscopy, the researchers witnessed synapses being formed in the brain of sleeping mice recently exposed to a learning task (abstract). They compared this to similarly tasked mice, that were subsequently sleep-deprived. The sleeping mice showed a marked increase in the formation of new synapses. As one researcher explained, "We thought sleep helped, but it could have been other causes, and we show it really helps to make connections and that in sleep the brain is not quiet, it is replaying what happened during the day and it seems quite important for making the connections.'''

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College (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181427)

This study proves what I've been saying all along: Sleep is key. A lot of my buddies in college find it strange that I choose to sleep instead of cramming all night, and then are perplexed when I would get higher grades.

Re:College (3, Funny)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 4 months ago | (#47181535)

Yeah, does this mean when I passed out drunk it actually WAS better than cramming all night?

I'm going to take this as proof that my 18 and 19 y/o self had it all figured out.

Re:College (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181601)

Most likely no. From what I understand, drunk sleep is bad sleep, neurologically speaking.

Re:College (4, Funny)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 4 months ago | (#47181879)

I don't remember reading anything like that.

Re: College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47185045)

Wow. That's like ... Wow.

Re:College (5, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 months ago | (#47181881)

I always thought 36-hour shifts in medical internship was stupidly counter-productive.

Re:College (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182181)

Of course it is, but what's the point of being in a position of authority if you can't abuse those below you. Internships are intentional torture.

Re:College (1)

metlin (258108) | about 4 months ago | (#47182635)

My son is 3 months old, and I walk around in a dazed stupor. It's a miracle that I am functional most of the time. Fortunately, my job has been greatly understanding, so that's been helpful.

Re:College (1)

volmtech (769154) | about 4 months ago | (#47183427)

One of my childhood friends almost failed his residency and dropped out of medicine because he couldn't stay awake 36 hours. After several tries he was able to complete his residency and became one of the top pediatric plastic surgeons in the nation.

Re:College (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183513)

It's just a stupid hazing ritual designed to select for a certain sort of /character/ rather than optimal ability. It is, frankly, surprising that medicine manages to help so many people - but then most doctors do routine work which requires little thought, and their abilities are vastly overestimated by the general public.

All the quickest-thinking academics I've known get quite a lot of sleep. This includes the medical researchers who actually discover the stuff that the average quack has to simply follow step by step.

Re:College (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 4 months ago | (#47185089)

I agree, Medicine relies on doctors to follow procedures that may not be intuitive. Unfortunately a lot of the diseases may be the cause of local environments and social behavior. The ability to know your patient is lost when they took away the oath of Do no Harm. I predict that this new age of medicine will end horribly even with the 8 billion human lab rats at their disposal.

Diary of a Third Year Medical Student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183969)

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183987)

From what I've heard, in New Zealand it's lower wages of half to two-thirds that in Australia, and double the length of shifts (36? 48 hours?) and then you're on call for 72 hours afterwards. Most of our medical graduates pack up and head off to Australia immediately, for some reason. Can't think why that would be.

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47184187)

Counter-productive for who?

The intern? Maybe.

The patient? Probably.

The hospital that gets free labor for 80 (documented) and 10-20+ more (undocumented) hours per week? Oh hell no.

Re:College (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 4 months ago | (#47185099)

Can you say malfeasance? It's a massive liability that I'm surprised they're willing to take on.

Re:College (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 3 months ago | (#47193827)

Can you say malfeasance? It's a massive liability that I'm surprised they're willing to take on.

The problem is that it is hard to prove that the hospital policy was the cause of anything that went wrong.

There is no reason that hours worked shouldn't be regulated in medicine the way it is regulated in professional driving or piloting. We don't let people fly planes for 80 hours per week, so why the heck would we let people do heart surgery for 80 hours per week?

Re:College (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 3 months ago | (#47195867)

Why not? Maybe because it's been proven by peer-reviewed clinical studies that sleep deprivation impairs people at least as much as alcohol does.

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47185159)

I always thought 36-hour shifts in medical internship was stupidly counter-productive.

Counter-productive for the patient's care and intern's well-being, but as for the hospital's bottom-line? It can't be beat!

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181895)

I had some classmates who claimed that their grades were significantly better on tests with remaining blood alcohol from the previous evening.

However, this is for using what was learned - assuming that things are not learned on the day before a test.

Re:College (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182101)

My psychology professor explained that alcohol affects memory encoding. So it's not that your drunk brain failed to record memories of the previous night, but rather that your sober brain cannot decode the memories stored by the drunk brain.

His suggestion, therefore, was that if you study for a test while drunk, you should also be drunk when you write the test.

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182543)

My psychology professor explained that alcohol affects memory encoding. So it's not that your drunk brain failed to record memories of the previous night, but rather that your sober brain cannot decode the memories stored by the drunk brain.

His suggestion, therefore, was that if you study for a test while drunk, you should also be drunk when you write the test.

Ok, so lesson learned.... don't switch labels.

Re:College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183523)

My psychology professor explained that alcohol affects memory encoding. So it's not that your drunk brain failed to record memories of the previous night, but rather that your sober brain cannot decode the memories stored by the drunk brain.

His suggestion, therefore, was that if you study for a test while drunk, you should also be drunk when you write the test.

Re:College (2)

liquidpele (663430) | about 4 months ago | (#47182699)

Well, if you haven't done *any* studying before that night, it's still better to cram and forget some than sleep and not know anything.

Re:College (1)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 4 months ago | (#47183881)

Even then... It's been my experience that assuming you're not an idiot (granted that's a bold assumption since you didn't study until the night before) and showed up to lectures or at least know a little about the material, you'll often have better chances reasoning out the questions in a less sleep deprived state.

Re:College (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 4 months ago | (#47183935)

How did you acquire this arcane knowledge that was not until this study known?

Was it all of the previous studies that linked sleep and memory without knowing the synapse-level effects of sleep deprivation?

Were you reporting your own personal experience as if it reflected the rest of the population?

Did you simply guess right?

Or did you somehow intuitively guess the results of a study that had not yet been performed?

I'm sure there are no more options, unless you count "vainly trumpeting a personal validation for repeating conventional wisdom" which, I'm sure, is totally not the case.

Re:College (1)

WhoBeI (3642741) | about 4 months ago | (#47185529)

Well, yeah, but you probably also plan your studies allowing you to learn what's needed over time instead of trying to memorize an entire book in one night. Trying to focus and do mental work while sleep deprived is usually not a good idea either regardless if you know the subject or not.

I'll try to keep this in mind. (2)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 4 months ago | (#47181437)

But 12 hours of sleep over the last 3 nights isn't going to help.

Re:I'll try to keep this in mind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181561)

Too much Wildstar?

Everyone knows why we need sleep. (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47181463)

All the transactions of a session is all kept in local cache and volatile memory. Finally it has to shut all external connections off, prune, collate, compile, squash and transcribe the local cache into more permanent record. Wait, am I describing the brain? Or our wonderful IT shutting off our git repo and clearcase server everyday between 3 AM and 8 AM?

Re:Everyone knows why we need sleep. (1)

monkeyFuzz (3398671) | about 4 months ago | (#47181531)

Why would you need both GIT and ClearCase?!

Re:Everyone knows why we need sleep. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181661)

Probably because they are a company that wasn't formed yesterday. Maintenance of History, old products.

Re:Everyone knows why we need sleep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181913)

Probably, because the process requires to use ClearCase, but people work practically with GIT, before pushing things into the official repository.

(this is how we do it, with different official X and in-official Y, though.)

Re:Everyone knows why we need sleep. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182107)

Clearly they spent all night setting up ClearCase, then the next morning they remembered they needed to install a code repository.

Re:Everyone knows why we need sleep. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47182205)

Why would you need both GIT and ClearCase?!

Because we are lucky. Some of the teams need CVS too. Acquisitions are fast. Integrations are slow.

Everyone knows why we need sleep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183929)

No wonder you fucking dream, then.

Memory leakage...

Vicious circle. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181489)

So, if I don't get enough sleep, I can't remember how bad for my memory it is? This so explains Margaret Thatcher.

Re:Vicious circle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182477)

Burn...24 years later! Then again, how can a burn be served cold?

Vicious circle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183943)

Margaret Thatcher is the reason you're alive.

Instead of dead at the bottom of a pit somewhere...

Re:Vicious circle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47184057)

So because Thatcher chose not to gut someone and kill them, the GP owes her his thanks. Damn you RWNJs will take credit for anything..

So getting less sleep I can become more popular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181517)

So getting less sleep I can become more popular? Because, seriously, from my interactions in this world it seems that intelligent and helpful thoughts are actively discouraged. Maybe it's better to be dumb and happy.

Re:So getting less sleep I can become more popular (1)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47181823)

So getting less sleep I can become more popular? Because, seriously, from my interactions in this world it seems that intelligent and helpful thoughts are actively discouraged. Maybe it's better to be dumb and happy.

If your goal is popularity, then go ahead and pander. If your goal is the betterment of yourself then find friends that don't discourage your growth and value the quality over quantity.

So, are their "best laid plans" ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 4 months ago | (#47181525)

... formed in the dreams of mice? And, if mice dream, do they dream of flying?

Re:So, are their "best laid plans" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181959)

YES. but sadly they aren't very good at it...

First Post! Yes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181533)

At least it would have been if I had gotten enough sleep and remembered to post earlier.

Memory, Sleep and Old Age (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 4 months ago | (#47181579)

So perhaps these senior moments I've been having are not so much from being over the hill as from the fact that as I've gotten older I get less sleep overnight?

Re:Memory, Sleep and Old Age (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 4 months ago | (#47185669)

I would give feedback, I'd rather comment as that is a very insightful comment.

Take your thought and expand it over decades. The memory process doesn't complete without sufficient sleep. What else doesn't? What else degrades? Are the effects of less sleep cumulative (it is with memories, having the body of forgotten memories increasing, I wonder if memory degradation is also occurring at a higher rate)? Is less sleep a factor in dementia, does it contribute to Alzheimer's disease?

For the record I get about six hours of sleep every night. I love to nap, but only get time for it on the weekends (best dreams ever!).

no surprise (4, Interesting)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 4 months ago | (#47181603)

How were the mice sleep deprived?

Stress has been linked to poor memory for decades. Was it that stress has caused poor sleep quality and poor memory, or is it that sleep deprivation stressed the mice which caused poor memory, or both?

Re:no surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181939)

How were the mice sleep deprived?

Stress has been linked to poor memory for decades. Was it that stress has caused poor sleep quality and poor memory, or is it that sleep deprivation stressed the mice which caused poor memory, or both?

I don't think that matters much - the interesting point is something different: They observed brain cells grow. After they trained the mice in a specific manner. This sounds like there is an observable link between a certain kind of information and how it is wired into the brain.

Re:no surprise (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 4 months ago | (#47181981)

Don't you remember? It was right there in the article. ;)

Re:no surprise (1)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about 4 months ago | (#47183533)

Gentle handling. Also, they had a control for this using injection of the stress-related hormone corticosterone, which failed to produce the changes they saw with sleep deprivation. This is in Science, they don't muck around too much there.

Same way we all are these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47184039)

Same way we all are these days. Microwave (aka wireless / wi-fi) radiation.

Any new parent could tell you that. (5, Insightful)

Rodness (168429) | about 4 months ago | (#47181605)

It's amazing how little sleep you can get and not die.

And for about a month after both of my kids were born, I really don't remember much at all.

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47181725)

It's amazing how little sleep you can get and not die.

And for about a month after both of my kids were born, I really don't remember much at all.

Same here. We adopted my son at the age of 2. I don't remember about the first 6 months other than that he was VERY upset and trying to kill us. I still have scars from the bite marks. He wouldn't sleep unless we held him and walked in circles... all night. As soon as we stopped he would wake up and bite. I always thought it was PTSD blocking it out but maybe not. :-)

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182001)

I'm a foster parent, our current we got around 11 months, and holy cow that girl could SCREAM and yell all night... 3 years later she still has sleep issues but much more manageable instead of her psychologist termed PTSD from what she saw her first 10 months of life screaming uncontrollably for hours on end. I'm convinced her poor memory is from her not willing to go to sleep till 3-4 hours after bedtime...

Sadly I remember those nights too well, but then again, as she got older we had another kid (or own), so must have passed enough in memory...

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47182187)

I'm a foster parent, our current we got around 11 months, and holy cow that girl could SCREAM and yell all night... 3 years later she still has sleep issues but much more manageable instead of her psychologist termed PTSD from what she saw her first 10 months of life screaming uncontrollably for hours on end. I'm convinced her poor memory is from her not willing to go to sleep till 3-4 hours after bedtime...

Sadly I remember those nights too well, but then again, as she got older we had another kid (or own), so must have passed enough in memory...

I remember it said that being an adoptive parent takes a special kind of person, which luckily I am. We're very blessed. But adopting pales in comparison to fostering. My hats off to you sir.

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182415)

can't claim to be a great person, we do plan to adopt when we can, the progress she has made is remarkable, but I would be telling stories if I told you we never seriously discussed a few times if we could even keep her in the house or if we should be sending her on her way. (we are her 4th foster home as well before she turned 11 months old)

I'm very happy we kept her as our bio daughter and her are connected at the hip and separating them would be devastating to both of them at this point. our bio son is almost a year old now, and these days kids are soooooo easy compared to our foster kid... (who apparently should technically be in a treatment foster home, which we aren't...)

a good environment works wonders for kids, but sleep is amazing...

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 4 months ago | (#47182949)

He wouldn't sleep unless we held him and walked in circles... all night. As soon as we stopped he would wake up and bite.

My daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was four. Walking in circles, jiggling gently... I got to the point where I could literally do it in my sleep. Otherwise I think I would have died. But at least she didn't bite!

One time we tried to let her "cry it out", which everyone kept telling us to do. But the neighbors started complaining after six hours of continuous all-out screaming... which they could hear, through their closed windows, in their brick house, from our brick house, with it's closed windows...

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183245)

"Cry it out" was created by the same Christian nutcases that invented spanking.

We attended a new parents "orientation" run by a fundamentalist doctor who advocated cry it out (of course he was recommended by the largest hospital in town...baptist). After he said he'd strongly prefer teens got pregnant rather than use contraception, my wife and I walked out.

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182989)

I think that furry little kid you adopted was a honey badger.

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (1)

misterplow (135845) | about 3 months ago | (#47192735)

I hardly ever comment here, but please just let me say - from one human being to another - a big THANK YOU! I have the highest respect for Good People who take in children through adoption and raise them.

Don't know what country you're in/from, but the world needs more people like you.

Re:Any new parent could tell you that. (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 4 months ago | (#47183991)

You were probably doing things instinctively and reflexively, along with potentially being affected by stress. After you got comfortable with a routine, you did things automatically.

None of these explanations has to do with sleep deprivation, but they likewise do not trigger the "record memories" action.

Oh look, more poop to clean up. Change another diaper, attempt to insert food into mouth, rejected again. Should I remember this for later? No need.

Replaying what happened during the day? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181641)

Not in my dreams. I did not discover a huge new type of shark yesterday nor did I end up in Brazil selling a guy a bunch of old US yellowpages for $50.

Re:Replaying what happened during the day? (1)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47181857)

Not in my dreams. I did not discover a huge new type of shark yesterday nor did I end up in Brazil selling a guy a bunch of old US yellowpages for $50.

It's hard to make your claim unless you remember all of your dreams.

Re:Replaying what happened during the day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182095)

I remember his dreams. I put them there.

Re:Replaying what happened during the day? (2)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 months ago | (#47182057)

Not in my dreams. I did not discover a huge new type of shark yesterday nor did I end up in Brazil selling a guy a bunch of old US yellowpages for $50.

Well you probably don't remember your brain replaying what you remember. It's already there. You remember your brain running unit tests designed to see if the connections laid out from remembering the days events are actually going to work in a variety of real world usage scenarios.

So true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181747)

I can't remember why, but I've been up for 2.5 days straight coding.

Re:So true! (3, Funny)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 4 months ago | (#47181767)

That explains a lot of code I've read over the years.....

forget the synapses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181829)

Please stop focusing on anatomical or histological details when analyzing complex mind processes; you won't find proof there, just side-effects. Anyway, this is just another article confirming what everybody already knew orsuspected.

Re:forget the synapses (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 4 months ago | (#47182729)

These aren't "histological details". Histology is done on dead tissue, whereas these researchers are imaging neurons in living animals and are seeing cells sprout new connections when animals learn. This was suspected, but it's quite another thing to see it happening before your eyes. The whole point of science is to test things you suspect; I don't understand your problem with this notion.

It's quite possible and very productive to study "complex mind processes" using in vivo imaging and elecrophysiology techniques. These approaches won't tell you what it feels like for the subject to perceive the world, for that you need literature, poetry, and art, but it's doing a pretty good job in helping us understand the mechanics through which the brain deconstructs sensory information and how it uses this information to make decisions and create memories.

not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181945)

I mean who ever thought that sleep and rest are allowed? Such blasmephy! It's almost like running out enocomy on rage and implusiveness isn't sustainable and that patience is actually valuable.

high/stoned every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47181973)

When I was growing and vaporizing weed every day from morning to night for about a year, I remembered what I had done every day during last week, but I couldn't remember in which order those days were. I thought it had something to do with rapid eye movement type of sleep I was depriving myself of.

I lost most of my 20s. (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 4 months ago | (#47182023)

Working 2-3 full time jobs, going to school, etc. I really have almost no recollection of anything in my 20s. I have the paystubs, etc to tell me what I was doing, but actual memories? Nope. Three to four hours of sleep a night. It sucks.

Re:I lost most of my 20s. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#47182193)

It's been said that if you can remember the 60's you weren't there.

I can't remember the last time I had enough sleep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182189)

N/T

Rotating Shift Work (1)

tquasar (1405457) | about 4 months ago | (#47182551)

My schedule changed monthly: days working Saturday through Tuesday, another day shift then PM's followed by three PM's and two night shifts, and then a month of nights. My last night shift ended on a Wednesday at 0600 and I returned to day shift the next Saturday at 0600. Only one employee was on duty over 90% of the time. I was a mental wreck for years from sleeping four hours at a time and my diet suffered as well.

Re:Rotating Shift Work (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 4 months ago | (#47184003)

Sounds like you remember the details, though...

Re:Rotating Shift Work (1)

tquasar (1405457) | about 4 months ago | (#47184473)

Getting to work on the correct day and time was sometimes a challenge but that was the easy part. I had problems with memory.

Marcel Proust (1)

relisher (2955441) | about 4 months ago | (#47182765)

Marcel Proust was obsessed with all of the tiniest memories possible, as well as sleep. I guess now there is an explanation for the correlation

Sleep Loss Causes Memory Loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182915)

This is old news. Where do these people get way with recycling old proved concepts and claim they have made breakthroughs?

Re:Sleep Loss Causes Memory Loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47184505)

Since it was only theorised previously, but now it's been proven through observation?

Time to put exp to use (1)

issicus (2031176) | about 4 months ago | (#47183185)

Let us rest Dungeon Master !!

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183829)

I thought that this had been known since, like, for ever?

Melatonin is important (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 4 months ago | (#47185175)

It it through melatonin that the day's events get passed to the brain. I saw it in a dream. This is just my way of documenting my findings.

reactivation is key not sleep (1)

WhoBeI (3642741) | about 4 months ago | (#47185683)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/re... [sciencedaily.com]

At the end of the article: "Our data suggest that neuronal reactivation during sleep is quite important for growing specific connections within the motor cortex," Dr. Gan adds.

That suggests that the sleep deprived mice might have created stronger connections if they had a second session on the treadmill while the others were sleeping. As I understand it the study provides physical evidence that current theories about how memories form are not false. Those theories include replaying neuron firing patterns during sleep. It's the 'physical evidence' that's important here from what I gather. The 'sleep helps with memory' is more of a headline.

I'm curious how this translate to humans and abstract thought. For me there seems to be a big difference between remembering how to move your arm and learning algebra.

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