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Dreaming Key to Memory Formation

"We already knew that newly acquired information is stored into different types of memories, spatial or emotional, before being consolidated or integrated," said Sylvain Williams, a researcher and professor of psychiatry at McGill.

The study was published in Science by researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill University) and the University of Bern.

"How the brain performs this process has remained unclear -- until now. We were able to prove for the first time that REM sleep is indeed critical for normal spatial memory formation in mice," Williams explained.

REM sleep is understood to be a critical component of sleep in all mammals, including humans. Poor sleep-quality is increasingly associated with the onset of various brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

In particular, REM sleep is often significantly perturbed in Alzheimer's diseases (AD), and results from this study suggest that disruption of REM sleep may contribute directly to memory impairments observed in AD, the researchers said.

Tasnim News Agency - science

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