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K-complex

Neurophysiology of K-complex: – K-complex consists of a brief negative high-voltage peak. – Occurs roughly every 1.0–1.7 minutes. – Generated in widespread cortical locations. – […]

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Neurophysiology of K-complex:
– K-complex consists of a brief negative high-voltage peak.
– Occurs roughly every 1.0–1.7 minutes.
– Generated in widespread cortical locations.
– Creates slow-wave and delta oscillations.
– Activity is transferred to the thalamus.

Development and Characteristics of K-complex:
– Present in the sleep of 5-month-old infants.
– Amplitude decreases with age.
– Frequency and amplitude higher in individuals under 30.
– Changes parallel other sleep components.
– Typically occurs during stage 2 of non-REM sleep.
– Associated with memory consolidation processes.

Clinical Significance of K-complex:
– Altered in various sleep disorders.
– Can be affected by age and gender.
– Abnormalities may indicate sleep disturbances.
– Used as a marker in sleep studies.
– Research suggests its role in cognitive functions and memory consolidation.

Clinical Applications of K-complex:
– In epilepsy: Can trigger spike-and-wave discharges.
– In restless legs syndrome: Increased numbers observed.
– In obstructive sleep apnea: Associated with fewer occurrences during NREM sleep.
– Clonazepam inhibits REM sleep and decreases K-complex count.

Research and Physiological Effects of K-complex:
– Suppresses cortical arousal to external stimuli.
– Protects sleep continuity and depth.
– Linked to regulation of heart rate and blood pressure.
– Implications for understanding sleep regulation.
– Investigated in the context of neurological disorders and cognitive impairments.

K-complex (Wikipedia)

A K-complex is a waveform that may be seen on an electroencephalogram (EEG). It occurs during stage 2 NREM sleep. It is the "largest event in healthy human EEG". They are more frequent in the first sleep cycles.

K-complexes have two proposed functions: first, suppressing cortical arousal in response to stimuli that the sleeping brain evaluates not to signal danger, and second, aiding sleep-based memory consolidation.

The K-complex was discovered in 1937 in the private laboratories of Alfred Lee Loomis.

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