With brain imaging, scientists are finding ways to help patients understand their brain function more accurately and to improve their quality of living.
But while neuroscientists are increasingly focusing on improving our quality of sleep, the quality and speed of our consciousness is a much more challenging challenge.
A new research paper from the Pacific Crest Neurology Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) suggests that some brain activity can be improved with neural stimulation.
The team’s latest work focused on how the brain works when we are in a deep sleep.
When our brains are in the “deep” state, the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are low.
When we wake up, we can use these chemicals to communicate with each other and our surroundings.
Researchers tested the effects of stimulation in a group of young adults.
Participants underwent electrical stimulation to their brains during deep sleep and during waking up.
They then measured brain activity during both deep sleep sessions and wake up.
“Our results show that stimulating the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex during sleep improves the perception of the world around us,” said senior author Dr. Mark J. Guevara, who is an associate professor of neurobiology and neuroscience at UCSF.
“This is especially important in cases of PTSD or epilepsy, because those conditions often require a good amount of attention and cognitive control.”
Researchers also used the same type of stimulation during waking hours to improve brain activity in healthy people.
They found that stimulating areas of the brain that normally produce a high level of activity during sleep significantly reduced the activity during waking time.
The researchers found that the stimulation reduced brain activity and also improved people’s ability to control their attention during a stressful situation.
The findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.