Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders
Office Phone: (608) 263-6100
Research studies in Dr. Benca’s laboratory use behavioral, neurophysiologic, and neuroanatomic techniques to elucidate mechanisms for sleep abnormalities in psychiatric disorders. Specific projects include identifying neural mechanisms underlying sleep-wakefulness responses to acute lighting changes, studying migratory sleeplessness in birds as a model for bipolar disorder, determining the role of the amygdala in sleep regulation, and studying sleep changes associated with mood disorders in humans. Dr. Benca’s lab has performed sleep deprivation studies on rats, pigeons and migratory sparrows, and has developed a new deprivation device—the disk-over-water—that removes some of the confounds of more traditional deprivation techniques, plus they have demonstrated that migration in sparrows mitigates some of the effects of sleep deprivation. As sleep deprivation is increasingly commonplace among humans, studying animal models of its effects and neurological compensatory techniques will be more and more critical.
Dr. Benca is also a practicing clinician in sleep medicine, and publishes chapters and articles on the effects of sleep and sleep deprivation on mood and mood disorders. She is director of the new University of Wisconsin Sleep Program.
- Prichard, J.R., H.S. Armacanqui, R.M. Benca, and M. Behan. 2007. Light-dependent retinal innervation of the rat superior colliculus. Anatomical Record 290: 341-8
- Peterson, M.J., and R.M. Benca. 2006. Sleep in mood disorders. Psychiatr Clin. N. Am. 29: 1009-1032
- Hanlon, E.C., M.E. Andrzejewski, B.K. Harder, A.E. Kelley, and R.M. Benca. 2005. The effect of REM sleep deprivation on motivation for food reward. Behav. Brain Res. 163: 58-69
- Infante, M., and R.M. Benca. 2005. Treatment of Insomnia. Primary Psychiatry 12: 47-56
- Rattenborg, N. C., E. Vacha, W. Obermeyer, and R.M. Benca. 2005. Acute effects of light and darkness on sleep and wakefulness in pigeons (Columba livia). Physiol Behav, 84: 635-640
- Mostaghimi, L., W. Obermeyer, B. Ballamudi, D. Martinez-Gonzalez, and R.M. Benca. 2005. Effects of short-term REM sleep deprivation on wound healing. J. Sleep Res. 14: 213-9
- Benca, R. M. 2005. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic insomnia: a review. Psychiatr. Serv. 56: 332-343
- Prichard, J. R., J.L. Fahy, W.H. Obermeyer, M. Behan, and R.M. Benca. 2004. Sleep responses to light and dark are shaped by early experience. Behav. Neurosci. 118: 1262-1273
- Benca, R. M., S. Ancoli-Israel, and H. Moldofsky. 2004. Special considerations in insomnia diagnosis and management: depressed, elderly, and chronic pain populations. J. Clin. Psychiatry 65: 26-35
- Rattenborg, N. C., B.H. Mandt, W.H. Obermeyer, P.J. Winsauer, R. Huber, M. Wikelski, and R.M. Benca. 2004. Migratory sleeplessness in the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). PLoS Biol. 2: E212
- Martinez-Gonzalez, D., W. Obermeyer, J.L. Fahy, M. Riboh, N.H. Kalin, and R.M. Benca. 2004. REM sleep deprivation induces changes in coping responses that are not reversed by amphetamine. Sleep 27: 609-617