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Northwestern University research: How to reinforce learning while you sleep

Northwestern University research: How to reinforce learning while you sleep | Students with dyslexia & ADHD in independent and public schools | Scoop.it

Memories can be reactivated during sleep and strengthened in the process,  Northwestern University research suggests.

Sleep-learning new material?

The age-old myth that you can learn a foreign language while you sleep is sure to come to mind, said Paul J. Reber, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and a co-author of the study.

“The critical difference is that our research shows that memory is strengthened for something you’ve already learned,” Reber said. “Rather than learning something new in your sleep, we’re talking about enhancing an existing memory by re-activating information recently acquired.”

The researchers, he said, are now thinking about how their findings could apply to many other types of learning.

“If you were learning how to speak in a foreign language during the day, for example, and then tried to reactivate those memories during sleep, perhaps you might enhance your learning.”

Paller said he hopes the study will help them learn more about the basic brain mechanisms that transpire during sleep to help preserve memory storage.

“These same mechanisms may not only allow an abundance of memories to be maintained throughout a lifetime, but they may also allow memory storage to be enriched through the generation of novel connections among memories,” he said.

The study opens the door for future studies of sleep-based memory processing for many different types of motor skills, habits and behavioral dispositions, Paller said.

 

More about SLEEP: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=sleep

 


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Sticky Teaching | What Sticks in the Brain

Sticky Teaching | What Sticks in the Brain | Students with dyslexia & ADHD in independent and public schools | Scoop.it

Interesting infographic on how the brain interacts with input.


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Robot sees living brain cells: may be be useful studying schizophrenia, Parkinson's, autism & epilepsy

Robot sees living brain cells: may be be useful studying schizophrenia, Parkinson's, autism & epilepsy | Students with dyslexia & ADHD in independent and public schools | Scoop.it

Researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech have developed a way to automate the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain.  The researchers have shown that a robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with better accuracy and speed than a human experimenter.

The new automated process eliminates the need for months of training and provides long-sought information about living cells' activities. Using this technique, scientists could classify the thousands of different types of cells in the brain, map how they connect to each other, and figure out how diseased cells differ from normal cells.

The project is a collaboration between the labs of Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, and Craig Forest, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

"Our team has been interdisciplinary from the beginning, and this has enabled us to bring the principles of precision machine design to bear upon the study of the living brain," Forest says. His graduate student, Suhasa Kodandaramaiah, spent the past two years as a visiting student at MIT, and is the lead author of the study, which appears in the May 6 issue of Nature Methods.

 

The method could be particularly useful in studying brain disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, autism and epilepsy, Boyden says. "In all these cases, a molecular description of a cell that is integrated with [its] electrical and circuit properties … has remained elusive," says Boyden, who is a member of MIT's Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research. "If we could really describe how diseases change molecules in specific cells within the living brain, it might enable better drug targets to be found."

 

ROBOTICS: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=robotics

 

NEUROSCIENCE: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=neuroscience

 

 

 

 


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