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Does sleep play a role in memory consolidation ? a comparative test.

Capellini, I. and McNamara, P. and Preston, B.T. and Nunn, C.L. and Barton, R.A. (2009) 'Does sleep play a role in memory consolidation ? a comparative test.', PLoS ONE., 4 (2). e4609.

Abstract

Sleep is a pervasive characteristic of mammalian species, yet its purpose remains obscure. It is often proposed that ‘sleep is for the brain’, a view that is supported by studies showing that sleep improves cognitive processes such as memory consolidation. Some comparative studies have also reported that mammalian sleep durations are higher among more encephalized species. However, no study has assessed the relationship between sleep and the brain structures that are implicated in specific cognitive processes across species. The hippocampus, neocortex and amygdala are important for memory consolidation and learning and are also in a highly actived state during sleep. We therefore investigated the evolutionary relationship between mammalian sleep and the size of these brain structures using phylogenetic comparative methods. We found that evolutionary increases in the size of the amygdala are associated with corresponding increases in NREM sleep durations. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that NREM sleep is functionally linked with specializations of the amygdala, including perhaps memory processing.

Item Type:Article
Full text:PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004609
Publisher statement:Copyright: © 2009 Capellini et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Record Created:24 Jan 2012 10:20
Last Modified:24 Jan 2012 10:35

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