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Bud's Beat

By: Bud Pisarek, Loomis News Correspondent
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OK! The secret is out. I admit to dozing off in college lectures when I attended school way back when. It was a challenge to keep awake as some professor expounded in Education 101 or reviewed ancient history facts. It wasn't the drone of their voices or the subject matter per se that made the eyelids droop or kept the head nodding. It had to do with the heat of the late spring days. Summer school was even worse. Yes, it was also the humidity. It was somewhat gratifying to read about my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, being the recepient of a $2.5 million grant to research – guess what – sleep. Giulio Tononi, professor of psychiatry, is head of the newly established UW Center for Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research. Tononi and his fellow researchers are working to unravel the mysteries of sleep. They seek the answer to what is happening in our bodies, and particularly in our brains, while we sleep. Hippocrates, in ancient Greece, observed that sleeplessness was connected with sorrow and pain. Today’s sleep researchers use electrocephalography to study sleep. The EEG uses electrodes attached to the head to record brain activity inside a sleeper’s brain. The University of Wisconsin now claims the title of the newest sleep research facility in the academic world. They refer to it as “Wisconsin Sleep.” Volunteer patients suffer from a range of problems including sleep apnea, breathing disorders, circulation problems, insomnia etc. It is hoped researchers at Wisconsin Sleep Center will help devise better treatment for these disorders. The overall goal of the sleep clinic is to uncover sleep’s true function. It probably boils down to the kind of sleep we get rather than how much, or how little, sleep we get. All I can say is, those 40 winks I got during lectures so many hot and humid days ago helped me. Pleasant dreams.