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Trent University Sleep Specialist Receives $48K Grant

Dr. Carlyle Smith to investigate links between sleep, memory and aging

Trent University's renowned sleep researcher, Dr. Carlyle Smith, has been awarded $48,701 from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to investigate the relationship between sleep, memory and aging. As primary investigator, he shares the award with Dr. Kevin Peters, a new faculty member with the Department of Psychology.

Prof. Smith, who is recognized for his research on sleep and memory, has focussed on the fact that certain events in sleep [rapid eye movement (REM) and Stage 2 sleep] decline with age as does memory ability. The new funding will be used to hone in on the link between memory and sleep.

"One of the things that is seen in older individuals is that the number of eye movements goes down," said Prof. Smith. "We know that humans need lots of eye movements to have good memory and that, for motor-type memory, we need the "spindles" we see in Stage Two sleep. These drop off in some individuals as they get older. We're interested in comparing young healthy adults, like students, with older individuals who show age related decline in memory."

The grant comes through the CIHR's Institute of Aging. One of the objectives of the Institute of Aging is to develop and support strategic research projects on aging and the purpose of the pilot project program is to encourage and stimulate established investigators to enter new targeted, high priority areas in the field of aging. This year, the Institute of Aging has committed $561,574 towards the Pilot project Grant Competition to support investigators whose research falls within IA's mandate.

CIHR is Canada's premier federal agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened health care system.

Posted March 18, 2004

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