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Scientific Lectures //

Title: The Impact of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia on Cognition and Brain Function

Sean Drummond, Ph.D. - Associate Professor In Residence, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego

Presented: March 7, 2013 

ABSTRACT: Sleep deprivation has become ubiquitous in modern society. Sleep loss negatively impacts a wide variety of domains, including physical (e.g., altering neuroendocrine function and weight), and psychiatric (e.g., increase risk of suidiality, depression, and PTSD) health. Even at less pathological levels, sleep loss has significant effects on cognition. Interestingly, however, those effects are complicated and depend on a number of factors. For example, in some cases, the brain responds to sleep deprivation with a compensatory recruitment response, whereby extra cognitive resources are brought to bear, resulting in relatively intact performance. In other contexts, one finds a diminished cerebral response, associated with impaired performance. This talk will provide an overview of work examining the effects of experimental sleep deprivation on cognition, with an emphasis on what functional MRI has shown us about the brain’s response to sleep deprivation. Insomnia will be discussed as an example of clinically impaired sleep, as well.

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Sean P.A. Drummond is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the VA San Diego Healthcare System and University of California San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory for Sleep and Behavioral Neuroscience. He serves as Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program and Associate Director of the Mood Disorders Psychotherapy Program at the VA, as well as Co-Director of the UCSD-VA San Diego Psychology Internship Training Program.  Dr. Drummond’s research program aims to better understand the effects of operational and clinical sleep loss on cognition, brain function, psychiatric symptoms, and quality of life. He studies experimental sleep deprivation, as well as sleep changes and sleep loss associated with aging, insomnia, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His research has been funded by several sources, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and industry. Dr. Drummond’s clinical expertise lies in treating stress-related sleep disorders, such insomnia and chronic nightmares, as well as mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.

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