Increased prefrontal event-related current density after sleep deprivation
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To investigate how partial sleep loss affects temporal and spatial pattern of information flow, we analyzed sources of brain electrical activity during continuous attention test. Sixteen physicians recruited from the university hospitals participated in the study. Each participant served as his own control. All participants underwent two test sessions including the Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Selective Reminding Test (SRT), and the Continuous Attention Test (CAT). The CAT items were used as stimuli in event-related potential (ERP) recordings. EEG was recorded from 21 electrodes, according to the international 10-20 system. The sources of bioelectrical activity were computed with low resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Estimated sleep time was significantly shorter on nights spent on duty than on nights of normal sleep at home. Sleep loss resulted in significant increase in SSS and BDI scoring, and impairment of immediate recall. Performance on the CAT remained relatively intact. Under the sleep loss condition compared to baseline, significant differences in brain activity occurred only for targets. Within the P1 time frame, sleep loss led to greater activation in the right Brodmann's area 9/10. For the N1 component, significant differences were localized on the lateral surface of the right frontal lobe, in Brodmann's areas 8 and 9. No significant effects of sleep deprivation on the P3 component were found. Our results are consistent with earlier data indicating that increased activation of the prefrontal cortex allows the maintainance of performance during periods of sleep loss.
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Waldemar Szelenberger, Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Warsaw, 00-665 Warsaw, 27 Nowowiejska St., Poland