AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Patients With Insomnia Have Altered Activity in Specific Brain Regions

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Specific brain regions, including those involved in awareness of self and tendency to ruminate, show altered activity in patients with insomnia when compared to good sleepers. In what is the largest study of its kind on insomnia, a research group led by Daniel Buysse, MD, professor of psychiatry and clinical and translational science, and the UPMC professor of sleep medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, identified differences in brain activity between states of sleep and wakefulness in 44 patients diagnosed with insomnia and 40 good sleepers. “While patients with insomnia often have their symptoms trivialized by friends, families and even physicians, the findings in this study add strong evidence to the emerging view that insomnia is a condition with neurobiological as well as psychological causes,” said Dr. Buysse, who is the senior author on the study. The study also shows that brain activity during sleep is more nuanced than previously thought, with different brain regions experiencing varying ‘depths’ of sleep. Click here to read more.

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