Have you ever wonder why, as people get older, they tend to be more forgetful? A new study claims that this might be caused by the brain rhythms in sleep.
Researchers mentioned that, during deep sleep, older adults don’t present the same coordination between their brain waves as young people do. Good communication between the brain waves is essential.
The Importance of the Brain Waves
Researchers stated that this process is the one which helps people save new memories. Study findings could be used to show why older adults have memory problems even when they do not have conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
The researchers now need to prove their findings. They are planning on doing so by causing a memory problem in a young brain by disrupting this process.
“This is the first paper that actually found a cellular mechanism that might be affected during aging and therefore be responsible for a lack of memory consolidation during sleep,” says Julie Seibt, a lecturer in sleep which was not involved in the study.
This research was a result of the effort to understand how the brain turns short-term events into memories while sleeping.
To conduct their analysis, the researchers monitored 20 young people. These had to learn 120 pairs of words and then go to sleep. After they woke up, they were asked how many of these pairs they remembered.
The researchers observed that the number of pairs remembered was influenced by the synchronization of their brain waves. Then, the scientists repeated the experiment on older adults. 32 people aged between 60 and 70 took the test. This is when the researchers observed that their brain waves were less synchronized in the deep sleep stage.
The student team noticed this when looking to understand why this group of participants remembered fewer pairs. Researchers also mentioned that another problem older adults have to face is that the area of the brain that produces deep sleep suffered started atrophying over time. This causes a person’s the rhythm of the brain to decrease.
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