Insomnia Affects Activity in Specific Brain Regions

Insomnia Affects Activity in Specific Brain Regions
share Share

 

According to a study published in the journal SLEEP by Kay and colleagues, specific brain regions show altered patterns of activity in patients with insomnia when compared to individuals without the condition.

 

There is a very large body of research devoted to exploring the psychological and behavioural processes of insomnia, which however very often lacks neurobiological specificity. A novel study carried out by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine provides evidence that the condition has strong neurobiological aspects and affects specific regions of the brain.

 

Researchers conducted positron emission tomography (PET) scans in 44 patients with primary insomnia (PI) and 40 good sleeper controls (GS) during morning wakefulness as well as non-REM sleep at night. Participants were injected with a solution of glucose molecules. The PET scans revealed that insomnia was characterized by higher activity in certain brain regions, which were more metabolically active and took up a higher amount of the radioactively tagged glucose. The researchers report that these variations can be attributed to impaired disengagement in brain regions associated with cognition, self-referential processes and affect during non-REM sleep, or alternatively, to decreased engagement of these regions during wakefulness.

 

Although it is not clear whether the aforementioned differences between PI patients and GS are the cause or the consequence of insomnia, the results of the current study suggest that sleep is not uniform across different regions of the brain, which refutes the oversimplified dominant view that the entire brain is ‘off’ during sleep and ‘on’ during wakefulness.

 

Brain dysfunction identified by the University of Pittsburgh researchers may be associated to symptoms reported by PI patients, namely mood, memory, rumination and self-awareness impairments. The findings of the study may contribute to the improvement of currently used treatments for insomnia such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. They also provide an insight into the effectiveness of alternative therapies such as mindfulness meditation.

  

Source: SLEEP


References:

Kay DB, Karim HT, Soehner AM, Hasler BP, Wilckens KA, James JA, Aizenstein HJ, Price JC, Rosario BL, Kupfer DJ, Germain A, Hall MH, Franzen PL, Nofzinger EA, Buysse DJ (2016) Sleep-Wake Differences in Relative Regional Cerebral Metabolic Rate for Glucose among Patients with Insomnia Compared with Good Sleepers; SLEEP; DOI: 10.5665/sleep.6154

Published on : Tue, 25 Oct 2016



Related Articles

Integrated PET/MR imaging scanners capable of simultaneous data acquisition are now available for human use. A report published... Read more

Technology of dual-labeled PSMA-inhibitors for PET/CT imaging and fluorescence-guided intraoperative identification of metastases. This work might help to establish a new treatment regimen for more precise and sensitive pre-, intra- and post-therapeutic d

Image-guided surgery for the removal of lymph node metastases can have a significant impact on outcomes in patients with... Read more

This figure shows inflammatory response and macrophage accumulation, an early indication of atherosclerotic plaque.

A new study presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) shows a hybrid... Read more

Insomnia, positron emission tomography,PET, brain activity According to a study published in the journal SLEEP by Kay and colleagues, specific brain regions show altered patterns of activity in patients with insomnia when compared to individuals without the condition.

No comment


Please login to leave a comment...

Highlighted Products