Science/Tech

Brain Waves Common While We're Asleep Observed In Awake Sheep

Here’s something cool that you may not know: Sleeping sheep have fast zags of neural activity in their brain, similar to the ones that can be found in our brains while we doze off. And here’s something even cooler: While these bursts disappear from our brains the moment we wake up, sheep can retain theirs.

What’s the reason behind all this ? Why are we even talking about sleeping sheep?

Burts, Zaps And Spindles

Per the study, which was published February 29 in the scientific journal eNeuro, the purpose behind these sleep spindles are still not entirely explained by science. One of the strongest theories, however, is that these bursts help lock new memories into the brain during sleep. Daytime ripples, if they exist in people, might be doing something similar during periods of wakefulness.

The study was made by Jenny Morton, a neurobiologist at the University of Cambridge, and her colleagues who reportedly examined and analyzed six female marino sheep that have electrode implants in their brains. For the next two nights and a day, electrical pattern and other types of data was then collected. Afterwards, an electroencephalography (EEG) reading was then made on the patterns, which revealed that jiggly bursts of brain waves called spindles are present in sheep brains while they are asleep. However, while these bursts can’t be found while we’re awake, they continue to exist in the brains of awake sheep. Overall, however, these daytime bursts are clearly much more localized and were captured at single, unpredictable spots in the sheep's brains.

But as for the reason behind these daytime bursts, Morton and her team has “no idea.” However, Morton said that these spindles may hint as to how sheep can handle certain types of information through the day and be able to retain it even while sleeping.

Per previous studies, the same types of spindles that have been found in humans are usually linked to neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. As such, studying sheep spindles may one day reveal a new way to help tackle these conditions.

sheep-17482_1920 New study says pressure of social norms can help create public policy. Pixabay

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