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Int J Neural Syst. 2016 Jun;26(4):1650015. doi: 10.1142/S0129065716500155. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Microsleeps are Associated with Stage-2 Sleep Spindles from Hippocampal-Temporal Network.

Author information

1 New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch, New Zealand.
2 Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.
3 Department of Physics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
4 Monash Biomedical Imaging, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
5 School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
6 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Behavioral microsleeps are associated with complete disruption of responsiveness for [Formula: see text][Formula: see text]s to 15[Formula: see text]s. They can result in injury or death, especially in transport and military sectors. In this study, EEGs were obtained from five nonsleep-deprived healthy male subjects performing a 1[Formula: see text]h 2D tracking task. Microsleeps were detected in all subjects. Microsleep-related activities in the EEG were detected, characterized, separated from eye closure-related activity, and, via source-space-independent component analysis and power analysis, the associated sources were localized in the brain. Microsleeps were often, but not always, found to be associated with strong alpha-band spindles originating bilaterally from the anterior temporal gyri and hippocampi. Similarly, theta-related activity was identified as originating bilaterally from the frontal-orbital cortex. The alpha spindles were similar to sleep spindles in terms of frequency, duration, and amplitude-profile, indicating that microsleeps are equivalent to brief instances of Stage-2 sleep.


Beamformer; EEG; ICA; hippocampi; localization; microsleeps; sleep spindles; temporal lobes

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