A study (# 0779) being presented this afternoon as an oral presentation used functional MRI to show that adults with primary insomnia have increased cerebral activation relative to good sleepers during a working memory task.
Differences appeared particularly in areas responsible for visual-spatial attention and coordination of cognitive processes. Compared with good sleepers, people with primary insomnia also showed significantly faster reaction times for correct responses and no difference in the number of errors committed.
Results suggest that people with primary insomnia may compensate for the detrimental effects of poor sleep to maintain adequate daytime performance.
You can download the SLEEP 2009 abstract supplement as an 11 MB file in PDF format.