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      Decoupling of the brain's default mode network during deep sleep.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Adult, Brain, physiology, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Nerve Net, Oxygen, blood, Rest, Sleep, Time Factors, Wakefulness

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          Abstract

          The recent discovery of a circuit of brain regions that is highly active in the absence of overt behavior has led to a quest for revealing the possible function of this so-called default-mode network (DMN). A very recent study, finding similarities in awake humans and anesthetized primates, has suggested that DMN activity might not simply reflect ongoing conscious mentation but rather a more general form of network dynamics typical of complex systems. Here, by performing functional MRI in humans, it is shown that a natural, sleep-induced reduction of consciousness is reflected in altered correlation between DMN network components, most notably a reduced involvement of frontal cortex. This suggests that DMN may play an important role in the sustenance of conscious awareness.

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          Journal
          19549821
          2708777
          10.1073/pnas.0901435106

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