Narrator: This is Science Today. Under contracts with the Navy and the Army, researchers at the University of California, San Diego are studying how sleep deprivation affects the brain - and why some people can function well with little sleep. In previous studies of the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging, UC San Diego researcher Greg Brown said they made some surprising discoveries.
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 he anterior brain region also became active with memorizing.
Narrator: Although sleep deprivation has many adverse effects, these findings suggest the brain can adapt to a lack of sleep.
Brown: The ultimate goal would be to understand the limits of this adaptation and the conditions under which adaptation can occur to sleep deprivation and the conditions under which limits to that adaptation can occur.Narrator: In the Army study, scientists plan to study how the brain functions with as much as 62 hours without sleep. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.