Babies retain detailed events during nap + Suicide: less sensitivity to body signals?

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Babies retain even detailed events during a nap

EXCERPT: The brain is permanently exposed to new impressions. Even when sleeping, it does not rest and processes recent experiences. In very early childhood, it has been thought that sleep primarily promotes semantic memory. This includes general knowledge such as the meaning of words. However, scientists [...] have now shown for the first time in their study published in Nature Communications that babies also build their episodic memory when they nap. This enables them to remember the details of their individual experiences after napping.

[...] "The results show that sleep not only enables the infant brain to generalize individual experiences, but also to preserve individual experiences in detail and to differentiate them from existing general knowledge," explains first author Manuela Friedrich, researcher at the MPI CBS and HU Berlin. She further hypothesizes: "The fact that a recognized object-word episode is not understood as referring to general knowledge means that its details can be protected from mixing with existing memory."

The results are also interesting with respect to the so-called infantile amnesia, i.e. the phenomenon of not being able to remember one's own early childhood experiences. It has often been assumed that very young children are not yet capable of forming longer-term episodic knowledge. However, the current findings clearly show that even babies can remember events in detail - and sleep contributes significantly to this. (MORE - details)

Study suggests suicide attempt survivors have lower sensitivity to bodily signals

EXCERPT: People who have survived a suicide attempt are less sensitive to bodily signals related to their heart and breath, and have a higher tolerance for pain, suggest new findings published today in eLife.

[...] “We found that this ‘interoceptive numbing’ was linked to lower brain activity in the insular cortex, a region that closely tracks the internal state of the body,” explains senior author Sahib Khalsa, Director of Clinical Operations at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. “This numbing was not influenced by the presence a psychiatric disorder, by a history of having considered suicide, or by having taken psychiatric medications, and this suggests it was most closely linked to the act of attempting suicide.”

Khalsa adds that these findings come with a number of limitations, including the fact that the study did not fully examine whether a history of considering suicide, versus making an actual attempt, has an independent impact on interoception. “It is also difficult to judge from our study whether the observed differences in interoception represent innate characteristics of the individuals involved, or whether they reflect an emerging response as they progressed from suicidal thinking to suicidal action,” he says.

Despite these limitations, the authors say their work reveals a possible role of interoceptive dysfunction in distinguishing individuals at risk of suicide. It also lays the groundwork for further studies to determine whether measuring interoception in individuals can improve the ability to predict their suicide risk. (MORE - details)

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