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Brain Nerve. 2012 Jun;64(6):611-9.

[Recent progress of neuroimaging studies on sleeping brain].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, USA.


Although sleep is a familiar phenomenon, its functions are yet to be elucidated. Understanding these functions of sleep is an important focus area in neuroscience. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been the predominantly used method in human sleep research but does not provide detailed spatial information about brain activation during sleep. To supplement the spatial information provided by this method, researchers have started using a combination of EEG and various advanced neuroimaging techniques that have been recently developed, including positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this paper, we will review the recent progress in sleep studies, especially studies that have used such advanced neuroimaging techniques. First, we will briefly introduce several neuroimaging techniques available for use in sleep studies. Next, we will review the spatiotemporal brain activation patterns during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the dynamics of functional connectivity during sleep, and the consolidation of learning and memory during sleep; studies on the neural correlates of dreams, which have not yet been identified, will also be discussed. Lastly, possible directions for future research in this area will be discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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