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Posted Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:26pm AEST
Updated Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:42pm AEST
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PhD student Martin Sale of the University of Adelaide uses magnetic brain stimulation to investigate how the brain learns. It seems that learning is better in the evening. (Fresh Science)
* Map: Adelaide 5000
An Adelaide University PhD student has found part of the brain which learns best at night.
Martin Sale has been named Young Scientist of the Year as part of National Science Week.
He was awarded the prize for his research which found that the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain which controls movement, is able to learn more effectively in the evening than in the morning.
Mr Sale says his findings could have implications for people who are recovering from brain injuries.
"[In] rehabilitation therapy for people who have had a stroke, for example, we can maybe identify a time of day when their brain is most receptive to therapy and they can potentially get better quicker," he said.
But Mr Sale says, before the research has practical application, more study is needed to understand why this part of the brain is more receptive at night.
"There are many hormones that fluctuate throughout the day and these can certainly have an effect on learning and memory," he said.
"We think possibly one, or a combination of these hormones, is influencing our results."
Tags: health, rehabilitation, science-and-technology, scitech-awards, biology, neuroscience, sa, adelaide-5000