Objective: The present study examined whether slow and/or fast sleep spindles are related to visuomotor learning, by examining the densities of current sleep spindle activities. Methods: Participants completed a visuomotor task before and after sleep on the learning night. This task was not performed on the non-learning night. Standard polysomnographic recordings were made. After the amplitudes of slow and fast spindles were calculated, sLORETA was used to localize the source of slow and fast spindles and to investigate the relationship between spindle activity and motor learning. Results: Fast spindle amplitude was significantly larger on the learning than on the non-learning nights, particularly at the left frontal area. sLORETA revealed that fast spindle activities in the left frontal and left parietal areas were enhanced when a new visuomotor skill was learned. There were no significant learning-dependent changes in slow spindle activity. Conclusions: Fast spindle activity increases in cortical areas that are involved in learning a new visuomotor skill. The thalamocortical network that underlies the generation of fast spindles may contribute to the synaptic plasticity that occurs during sleep. Significance: Activity of fast sleep spindles is a possible biomarker of memory deficits. © 2009 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology.
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