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Introduction to basic science 

Introduction to basic science
Chapter:
Introduction to basic science
Author(s):

James T. McKenna

, and Robert W. McCarley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199682003.003.0001
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date: 25 February 2020

This chapter briefly reviews recent basic research advances in the understanding of the neural circuitry and physiology involved in vigilance state regulation (wakefulness, non-rapid eye movement, and rapid eye movement sleep), as well as some posited functions of sleep. Basic sleep research has exploded exponentially in the last half-century owing to advances in neuroanatomical, pharmacological, electrophysiological, molecular, and genetic techniques. Sleep disorders, of either primary etiology or concomitant to psychiatric and neurological disease, are increasingly recognized as major public health issues, which this research addresses. Furthermore, basic research illuminates the mechanisms by which sleep loss due to vocational demands produce dysfunctional physiological and cognitive sequelae. Further understanding of vigilance state regulation will aid the development of treatments of sleep-related disorders, as well as related psychiatric and neurological pathologies.

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