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They show that brain activity in the face of noise is controlled by specific brain waves during sleep. In particular, waves called sleep 'spindles' prevent the transmission of sounds to auditory brain regions. Conversely, when sounds are associated with brain waves called 'K-complexes', activation of auditory areas is larger. Our perception of the environment is therefore not continuously reduced during sleep, but rather varies throughout sleep under the influence of particular brain waves.

In this study, the research team led by Dr Thanh Dang-Vu and Prof. Pierre Maquet (Cyclotron Research Center, University of Li├Ęge) shows that brain activity induced by sounds during sleep closely depends on brain waves that constitute our sleep.

By using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) combined with electroencephalography (EEG), researchers have evidenced that auditory brain regions remain active in response to sounds during sleep [see image, left panels], except when sounds occur during brain waves called sleep 'spindles'. The study indeed shows that spindles prevent the transmission of sounds to the auditory cortex.

Road More: Sciencedaily

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