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This research is particularly relevant as it relates to groups of people who are susceptible to the seasons, including those who suffer from SAD (and mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which sometimes have shown seasonal fluctuations as well), a link that has recently come under contention. Last month in Clinical Psychological Science researchers from Auburn University at Montgomery published the results of a population-based study questioning whether there is any validity to linking major depression with seasonal variation.
“It’s difficult to establish seasonality,” Vandewalle says, “but here in our study we had the chance to strictly control protocol for almost five days, so I’m really confident in our results.”
#artikel #ljuscykler #årstidsdepression #vinterdepression #depression #uppmärksamhet #kognition
Senast ändrad av Onddruid den ons feb 10 2016, 18:34, ändrad totalt 1 gång
Originally aiming to investigate the impact of sleep and sleep deprivation on brain function, Vandewalle and his fellow researchers placed 28 participants on a controlled sleep/wake schedule for three weeks before bringing them into the laboratory, where they stayed for 4.5 days. During this time they underwent a cycle of sleep deprivation and recovery in the absence of seasonal cues such as natural light, time information and social interaction. Vandewalle’s team repeated the entire procedure with the same subjects several times throughout the course of nearly a year and a half.
The researchers then used fMRI to look for any consistent seasonal changes in brain activity. They found that although overall performance on the tasks remained the same, the “cost of cognition,” or in other words, the neural resources available or used in cognition, varied with time of year. Most notably, brain activity involved in sustained attention (especially in the thalamus, amygdala and hippocampus, among other regions) was highest in the summer and lowest in the winter. This pattern shifted by three months for brain activity associated with working memory (including responses in the pulvinar and insula as well as the prefrontal and frontopolar regions), a higher executive function that allows us to recall and manipulate information, which was higher in the fall and lower in the spring.
Mycket intressant studie! Tog ut vad jag tyckte var viktigt för poängen med studien: Detta var ett bifynd, man skulle titta på sömnens påverkan på kognitionen men lyckades istället hitta en koppling till säsongsbundna förändringar. Man gjorde dessa tester på ett sådant sätt att man eliminerade dagsljus, tidsuppfattning och sociala interaktioner under de dygnen som försökspersornerna testades. Trots detta märkte man skillnad under årstiderna - och det viktiga här var att det var skillnad i "cost of cognition", förenklat kan man säga att hjärnans resurser till att utföra vissa uppgifter varierade under året.
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