Animal and human brains are disengaged from any sensory input during sleep.
The researchers at UC Riverside used a computational model to create the link between the neuronal synaptic connections and the brain’s electrical activity during deep sleep.
The model spontaneously generates patterns of slow oscillations in the cortex and shows that these patterns are directly influenced by the sharp-wave ripples in the hippocampus.
Additionally, the oscillations in the cortex determine synaptic changes in the neurons.
It is notable that synaptic strength is generally believed to play a role in memory storage and learning.
Decades of research have concluded that sleep is vital for learning functions and making long-term memories.
However, knowing exactly how long-term memory is formed is not wholly understood.It remains a primary question in neuroscience New research from neuroscientists out of the University of California Riverside published in the reported that there may now be an answer to that question.For the first time, this study will look at a mechanistic explanation for how deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, is responsible for the consolidation of new memories.In this model, the synaptic changes affect the slow oscillation patterns and promote a sort of reinforcement and replay of specific memories. Yina Wei, notes that the slow oscillations are undisturbed by input from the hippocampus.This is interpreted as an explanation for the ability to consolidate specific memories during sleep because the traces of memory are formed within the cortex and then become completely independent of the hippocampus. Wei explained that the hippocampal input goes to the cortex during deep sleep and then proceeds to influence how the slow oscillations are brought into the cortical network.The influence of these slow oscillations and the input from the hippocampus activates memories during sleep, causing some memories to replay.