Year of selection 2010
Institution University of Basel
Spending nights working to meet a deadline is a situation most of us have experienced. However, being efficient the following day can be challenging. To unravel the mechanisms underlying this process, Dr. Christina Schmidt is investigating how sleep pressure and aging interact to alter cognitive performance by monitoring elderly people. Her results may affect the way our society schedules cognitive tasks throughout the day and, in the long run, help older people suffering from sleep-related issues."
In humans, homeostatic and circadian sleep-wake regulatory processes are continuously working in harmony or in opposition to each other to allow maintenance of sleep and wakefulness states at appropriate time points within the 24 hour light-dark cycle. Importantly, sleep patterns change substantially and continuously with age across adulthood. Our proposal aims at combining signals from a series of techniques for an integrative understanding of the cerebral mechanisms underlying age-related alterations in circadian arousal promotion directly impacting on higher order cognitive behaviours. The investigation of such mechanisms may appear decisive in our aging society in which flexible working hours outside of the normal “day work” hours are increasingly required.
Dr. Schmidt’s project has the potential to open up new areas of research, affect the way our society schedules cognitive tasks throughout the day and, in the long run, provide help to older people suffering from sleep-related issues.
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