Much to my delight, I heard the voice of Josef Parvizi, MD, PhD, on NPR yesterday afternoon. He was discussing the results of his latest study, which showed that the brain's activity during sleep is far from random.
"There is something that's going on in a very structured manner during rest and during sleep," Parvizi told NPR. "And that will, of course, require energy consumption."
A Shots blog entry accompanying the segment describes the findings:
The team saw activity in two widely separated brain areas known to be involved in episodic memories. And the activity was highly coordinated — suggesting the different brain regions were working together to answer the questions...
"What we found," he says, "was that the same nerve cells that were activated to retrieve memories... have a very coordinated pattern of noise."
This explains, in part, why the brain consumes 20 percent of the body's energy, although it constitutes only 2 percent of its weight. There are more details on the study in our press release.
Previously: New findings on exactly why our "idle" brains burn so much fuel, The brain whisperer: Stanford neurologist talks about his work, shares tips with aspiring doctors and How epilepsy patients are teaching Stanford scientists more about the brain