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Pierre Maquet, Philippe Peigneux, Steven Laureys, and Carlyle Smith
Be Caught Napping: You're Doing More than Resting Your Eyes. (... an overview of recent research [and, in particular, an article by Sara C. Mednick, et al.] that suggests that taking a nap restores performance after repetitive training on the same day on a perceptual learning task. In other words, if a person feels tired and burned out after working for some time on an intellectual task, taking a short nap [as a break--that same day] can then improve that person's subsequent performance and productivity on that task. Other keywords and phrases -- brain function, non-REM, REM, sleep, sleep deprivation -- from the text of the article; please see the bibliography)
Nature Neuroscience Volume 5, Number 7 (July 2002): 618-619.
Sara C. Mednick, Ken Nakayama, Jose L. Cantero, Mercedes Atienza, Alicia A. Levin, Neha Pathak, and Robert Stickgold
The Restorative Effect of Naps on Perceptual Deterioration. (... naps--brief periods of daytime sleep lasting an hour or less--have been shown to improve alertness, productivity and mood under a variety of conditions [such as prolonged periods of driving and working at night]. The effect that taking daytime naps has on information that has been previously learned is not as well known.
The authors found that the performance of study participants deteriorated if they [were] trained on the [same perceptual learning] task four times at regular intervals on the same day--the more training the study participants experienced over the course of a day, the worse they did on the task. The authors found that this deterioration [in performance] can be avoided if the subjects are allowed to nap for 30 to 60 minutes at the beginning of the afternoon [between the second and third training sessions]. A 60-minute nap was found to be more effective than a 30-minute nap at improving subsequent task performance. In addition, factors such as increasing the study participants' motivation to do better on the task [by offering them more money], making the task easier to perform, and having the study participants rest for 60 minutes but not sleep had no effect on improving task performance--only by actually taking a nap and sleeping did the study participants improve their performance as training on the task went on throughout the day.
The researchers also observed that deterioration in task performance is not a global effect of fatigue on the brain, but a specific effect on the brain regions involved in [that particular] task. Other keywords and phrases -- brain function, information overload, non-REM, REM, power naps, sleep, sleep deprivation, SWS, TDT, visual perception tasks, visual texture discrimination tasks -- from the text of the article and from the text of the article by Pierre Maquet, et al.)
Nature Neuroscience Volume 5, Number 7 (July 2002): 677-681.
Mark P. Mattson, Sic L. Chan, and Wenzhen Duan
Modification of Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders by Genes, Diet, and Behavior. (... many people live to be 90 years of age or older and enjoy a well-functioning brain until the very end of life while many other people do not and a significant percentage of these latter people succumb to brain disorders such as Alzheimer's [AD] and Parkinson's [PD] diseases. As a result, a major goal of research in the area of the neurobiology of aging is to identify ways to facilitate successful brain aging in everyone This article is a broad scholarly review of the considerable research which has taken place in this area.
This research has produced a number of intriguing dietary, behavioral, and genetic findings including the following: as with other major age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, the most effective means of reducing risk for neurodegenerative disorder [like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases] may be to modify one's diet and behaviors. In particular, various studies with humans support the antiaging and disease prevention effects of DR [dietary restriction--one form of which is a low-calorie diet]. The existing research--done with animals and humans--provides strong evidence that DR can reduce risk of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke. The authors also discuss the possible effects of folic acid and antioxidants [such as vitamin E, creatine, and Ginko biloba extract] and their relationships with brain function, AD, PD, HD [Huntington's Disease], and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Research has also indicated that behavioral factors can have a major impact on the outcome of brain aging. Studies of animals and humans seem to show that intellectual activity at all stages of life may be protective of the brain and lower the risk of Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, research--again involving both animals and humans--has indicated that regular vigorous [physical] exercise improves mood and cognition [including among elderly humans] and reduces the risk for stroke.
The authors conclude by saying that dietary, behavioral, and drug-based approaches are the best bets in the near future for increasing the health span of the brain. Other keywords and phrases -- factors, gene, neural, neuroprotective, neurorestorative, prevention, synapses, treatment -- from the text of the article; please see the extensive bibliography)
Physiological Reviews Volume 82, Number 3 (July 2002): 637-672.
**An abstract of the article is currently available through the Web site of Physiological Reviews**
A. F. Massardo, C. F. McDonald, and T. Korakianitis
Microturbine/Fuel-Cell Coupling for High-Efficiency Electrical-Power Generation. (... microturbines and fuel cells are currently attracting a lot of attention as possible current and future ways to generate electricity for use in homes, businesses, etc.--generation methods that would serve as alternatives to or in place of past and current methods of generating electricity [large generation plants powered by coal or natural gas, nuclear power plants, etc.]. The authors of this article describe and analyze a hybrid power plant coupling a microturbine with a high-temperature solid-oxide fuel cell [SOFC]. The authors conclude that it is reasonable to project that a high performance and cost-effective hybrid plant, with high reliability, will be ready for commercial service in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. And, while a number of microturbines could be put together to create a larger level of power generation, the authors suggest that this can perhaps be more effectively accomplished by coupling just a single gas turbine module with a SOFC. Other keywords and phrases -- compatibility, costs, development, efficiency, fuel, output, performance, technical, waste heat -- from the text of the abstract)
Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power Volume 124, Number 1 (January 2002): 110-116.
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