Study Objectives: Slow oscillations (SO) during slow-wave sleep foster the consolidation of declarative memory. Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) display deficits in the sleep-associated consolidation of declarative memory, possibly due to an altered function of SO. The present study aimed at enhancing SO activity using closed-looped acoustic stimulation during slow-wave sleep in children with ADHD. Methods: A total of 29 male children (14 with ADHD; aged 8–12 years) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study trial. Children spent two experimental nights in a sleep lab, one stimulation night and one sham night. A declarative learning task (word-pair learning) with a reward condition was used as a primary outcome. Secondary outcome variables were a procedural memory (serial reaction time) and working memory (WM; n-back) task. Encoding of declarative and procedural memory took place in the evening before sleep. After sleep, the retrieval took place followed by the n-back task. Results: The stimulation successfully induced SO activity during sleep in children with and without ADHD. After stimulation, only healthy children performed better on high-rewarded memory items (primary outcome). In contrast, there were indications that only children with ADHD benefitted from the stimulation with respect to procedural as well as WM performance (secondary outcome). Conclusions: We were able to show that the acoustic closed-loop stimulation can be applied to enhance SO activity in children with and without ADHD. Our data indicate that SO activity during sleep interacts with subsequent memory performance (primary outcome: rewarded declarative memory; secondary outcome: procedural and WM) in children with and without ADHD.
Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren
- Forschungsschwerpunkt: Gehirn, Hormone, Verhalten - Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)