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Greater insights into the mechanisms and consequences of sleep and sleep disorders have been achieved through advances in brain imaging methods that describe various aspects of neural function. These are collectively referred to as functional neuroimaging. These include techniques such as PET, fMRI, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), transcranial sonography, magnetoencephalography (MEG), low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA), and combined methods such as combined EEG and fMRI. Extensive applications of brain imaging have been made to help clarify the changes in regional brain function that result from perturbations in either homeostatic or circadian processes, and also have clarified the relationship between these brain changes and the behavioral consequences of these disruptions. The earliest applications of neuroimaging to the study of sleep disorders were those of functional neuroimaging methods to study the global brain states of waking, NREM, and REM sleep. Brain imaging studies have been utilized in narcolepsy and the hypersomnias.
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