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CHALLENGE

Does better sleep improve your memory? As with physical health, aging adults experience a decline in cognition, losing the ability to recall information about people, places, events and experiences. A pioneer in her field, Sara Mednick studies the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, focusing on sleep and its importance. While little is known about sleep, it is vital to human life, affecting behavior and possibly playing an integral role in many cognitive disorders impacting a large population.

SOLUTION

Sleep spindles are bursts of brain activity that last for a second or less during a specific

H E A L T H

stage of sleep. Research conducted by Mednick demonstrates the critical role sleep spindles play in consolidating information from short-term to long-term memory and reveals that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process. Mednick’s findings uncover possibilities to integrate sleep into medical diagnoses and treatment strategies, tailoring sleep to address particular cognitive disorders and improving memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Sara Mednick

Assistant Professor, Psychology College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

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