Japan-Led Team Finds Neurons That Make People Forget Dreams

Society Lifestyle Science Technology

Tokyo, Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)--A team led by a Japanese researcher has identified neurons that remove memories during light sleep when the body rests while the brain is active.

A research paper of the team, led by Nagoya University Prof. Akihiro Yamanaka, has been published in the U.S. journal Science.

Dreams during light sleep, called rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep, just before awakening, are quickly forgotten partly due to these neurons, the team said.

Deep non-REM sleep, when the brain takes a rest, occurs at the beginning of the sleep cycle, followed by alternate occurrence of REM and non-REM sleep. Memories are sorted out and settled during the process.

The identified neurons exist in small amounts in the brain's hypothalamus, which helps regulate sleep, appetite, libido and body temperature. The neurons had been known for its role in stimulating appetite.

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