Insomniacs Have "Different Brains"

Sunday 20th June 2010

Older adults who experience problems sleeping have 'different brains',according to new research. Dutch scientists studying the brain activity of insomniacs claim that the brains of older people with insomnia function and look differently than normal. Researchers hope that doctors will be able to easier diagnose and treat the sleep disorder by looking for differences in brain composition and function that have been newly identified.

Researchers found that people with insomnia had less dense areas of grey matter in the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. Researchers also found that people with the sleep disorder showed lower levels of brain activity when performing a set lingual task.

Despite using less brain activity, problem sleepers were able to outperform a control group of healthy sleepers when it came to using descriptive words. Researchers believe that this may be caused by 'hyperarousal' caused by the stress of sleep deprivation. However, researchers found that insomniacs were less able to successfully carry out longer tasks or make decisions than their healthy sleeping counterparts.

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