To wake or not to wake?

New evidence provides clues about the role of a key sleep-related brain activity pattern in the brain: this waveform may help keep the mind asleep through nonthreatening disturbances, rather than wake it up as previous studies have suggested, a paper in this week's Science reports. Image: Wikipedia The brain pattern in question, called the K-complex (KC), is the largest characterized neurological event in the healthy human brain. Common throughout certain sleep stages, the KC is defined by a br

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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May 20, 2009
New evidence provides clues about the role of a key sleep-related brain activity pattern in the brain: this waveform may help keep the mind asleep through nonthreatening disturbances, rather than wake it up as previous studies have suggested, a paper in this week's Science reports.
Image: Wikipedia
The brain pattern in question, called the K-complex (KC), is the largest characterized neurological event in the healthy human brain. Common throughout certain sleep stages, the KC is defined by a brief, high-amplitude waveform followed by a longer, voltage-negative peak. KCs were first described in the1930s, less than 20 years after the first human studies employing electroencephalography (EEG), a method for recording the electrical activity of the brain along the scalp. KCs, researchers found, could be elicited by a soft noise, such as a knock on the door of a sleeping subject. This raised the question of whether KCs participate in rousing the...




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