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June 1985

Sleep Disorders Medicine: How Neurological?

Author Affiliations

From the Neurology Service (127), Veterans Administration Medical Center, Syracuse, NY, and the Upstate Medical Center, State University of New York, Syracuse.

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(6):600-601. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060060106018

Approximately one third of the human existence is spent in sleep, a state of suspension of consciousness that has always been associated with rest. The common observation of a motionless human or animal enjoying peaceful sleep led to the teleologic belief that this recurrent phenomenon was a physiologically passive epoch in the daily routine, necessary to restore consumed energy. Theories and hypotheses of the past revolved around the concepts of quiescence and passivity, and ranged from neuronal disconnections to functional transections between the brain stem and the cerebrum.1 During sleep the individual manifests an inactive behavior, but although the body and the mind may be at rest, the brain remains exceptionally active. The application of electrophysiologic recording techniques to the sleeping organism reveals a wealth of organized electrical brain activity that clearly implicates the brain as the organ in charge of directing sleep.

Developments in the field of sleep

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