Giulio Bernardi, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy | ''Local patterns of sleep and wakefulness''
Thursday 7 March. 2019 – 14:00, INS Seminar Room, Campus Timone, Red Wing, 5th Floor.
Abstract : Sleep and wakefulness have traditionally been considered as two mutually exclusive behavioral states, characterized by distinct neuromodulatory milieus and specific electrophysiological signatures. However, this view is challenged by a growing body of evidence indicating that changes in neuronal activity characteristic of sleep are regulated locally, and that ‘islands’ of sleep and wakefulness may often coexist in the same individual. In this talk I will review recent experimental works demonstrating that: 1) Changes in brain activity during wakefulness can affect sleep ‘intensity’ within circumscribed cortical areas, and such local variations may in turn modulate sleep-dependent processes, including learning and memory consolidation; 2) Episodes of ‘local sleep’ may occur during wakefulness as a consequence of ‘functional fatigue’ induced by the reiterated use of task- related brain areas and have a potential direct impact on behavior; 3) The presence and content of conscious experiences during sleep (dreams) depend on a ‘local awakening’ of specific brain regions; 4) Alterations in the local regulation of sleep and wakefulness may represent the bases for symptoms observed in pathological conditions, including neurological and psychiatric disorders.