Sleep spindles are locally modulated by training on a brain-computer interface

Lise A. Johnson, Tim Blakely, Dora Hermes, Shahin Hakimian, Nick F. Ramsey, Jeffrey G. Ojemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The learning of a motor task is known to be improved by sleep, and sleep spindles are thought to facilitate this learning by enabling synaptic plasticity. In this study subjects implanted with electrocorticography (ECoG) arrays for long-term epilepsy monitoring were trained to control a cursor on a computer screen by modulating either the high-gamma or mu/beta power at a single electrode located over the motor or premotor area. In all trained subjects, spindle density in posttraining sleep was increased with respect to pretraining sleep in a remarkably spatially specific manner. The pattern of increased spindle activity reflects the functionally specific regions that were involved in learning of a highly novel and salient task during wakefulness, supporting the idea that sleep spindles are involved in learning to use a motor-based brain-computer interface device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18583-18588
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 6 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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