The UC Davis Sleep Laboratory recently conducted a longitudinal study which uncovered the remarkable world of what happens in the brains of youth as they sleep:
“It is the final component in a three-part series of studies carried out over 10 years and involving more than 3,500 all-night EEG recordings. The data provide an overall picture of the brain’s electrical behavior during the first two decades of life…For the current study, Feinberg and his research team monitored 28 healthy, sleeping children between the ages of 6 and 10 for two nights every six months. The new findings show that synaptic density in the cerebral cortex reaches its peak at age 8 and then begins a slow decline. The recent findings also confirm that the period of greatest and most accelerated decline occurs between the ages of 12 and 16-1/2 years, at which point the drop markedly slows.”
This study builds upon two previous studies conducted by Dr. Feinberg and his colleagues, and is the first of its kind to look long-term at the brain activity of sleeping youth over a long period. Determining the time frame over which youth brain activity peaks and declines during childhood and adolescents could help improve the ways in which youth brain complications are addressed and treated: “Once these underlying processes have been identified, it may become possible to influence adolescent brain changes in ways that promote normal development and correct emerging abnormalities.” Very interesting work!
Written By Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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