Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine say their new study indicates that sleep problems and Alzheimer’s may be connected.
The study used mice genetically altered to develop Alzheimer’s plaques in their brains as they aged. The researchers found that those mice that developed brain plaques also exhibited disrupted sleep-wake cycles. The scientists observed that as the mice got older, they developed signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains. At the same time, they also developed sleep-wake cycle problems. The primary issue is that they were awake more than they should be.
Another indicator of the disease, researchers believe, could be a protein in the brain called amyloid beta. In healthy mice, scientists found that the amyloid beta level in cerebrospinal fluid fluctuated, increasing during waking hours and decreasing during sleep. This same fluctuation in the amyloid beta was seen in another recent study.
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