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A. What Sleep Does to the Brain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Sleep deprivation is a common occurrence in today's busy society. But just how does a lack of sleep affect the brain? Researchers at the University of California, San Diego are using a technique called functional resonance imaging to find out. Dr. Greg Brown, a professor of psychiatry who conducted the experiments, says there were some surprising findings.

Brown: We found that all regions in the anterior portion of the brain that were active when subjects were well rested, remain active when they were sleep deprived and some additional areas of the anterior brain region also became active with memorizing.

Narrator: Although sleep deprivation has many adverse effects, these findings suggest the brain has an adaptive resource that kicks in during times of stress - such as lack of sleep.

Brown: The ultimate goal would be to understand the limits of this adaptation. And the conditions under which adaption can occur to sleep deprivation and the conditions under which limits to that adaption can occur.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.