Healthy, elderly research participants who report being more sleepy and less rested have higher levels of amyloid deposition in regions of the brain that are affected in Alzheimer's disease, according to a report presented today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual meeting in Phoenix (Arizona). If sleep disturbance is a cause of amyloid accumulation, it may be an early target for intervention to prevent the progression of cognitive deficits in late life.
Numerous studies have shown the importance of sleep and the effect that sleep deprivation can have on our brains. Sleep apnea is associated with cognitive dysfunction across the lifespan and both untreated apnea and sleep disturbance are associated with increased cognitive dysfunction in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Evaluating physical changes in the brain and how they are related to sleep quality can help determine the extent to which sleep can provide a window on brain function and pathology.
Using positron emission tomography (PET) scanning with a tracer that visualizes deposits of amyloid, a protein that is elevated in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, Ruth Benca and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the relationship between sleep quality and brain amyloid levels in a group of 98 cognitively healthy volunteers, 50-73 years of age.
The subjects, who were participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention, completed questionnaires about their sleep and problems related to it. Those who reported greater sleepiness showed greater amyloid acumulation in areas of the cerebral cortex that are heavily affected in Alzheimer's disease ─ the supramarginal and frontal medial orbital areas. Higher amyloid in these regions was also linked to less restful sleep and more sleep problems.
Although it is tantalizing to speculate that the link between sleep disturbances and amyloid deposition in the brain may help us identify an early, modifiable marker for Alzheimer's disease, it is too soon to draw that conclusion. "We still need to determine whether sleep disturbance promotes amyloid deposition in the brain, or if a neurodegenerative process produces disordered sleep", commented Dr. Benca. Future work is needed to answer that question and to determine whether interventions that improve sleep can prevent brain changes that lead to Alzheimer's disease.
This research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Aging, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Clinical and Translational Science Award Program.
Public relations Contact
Susan Lambert Smith
ACNP, founded in 1961, is a professional organization of more than 700 leading scientists, including four Nobel Laureates. The mission of ACNP is to further research and education in neuropsychopharmacology and related fields in the following ways: promoting the interaction of a broad range of scientific disciplines of brain and behavior in order to advance the understanding of prevention and treatment of disease of the nervous system including psychiatric, neurological, behavioral and addictive disorders; encouraging scientists to enter research careers in fields related to these disorders and their treatment; and ensuring the dissemination of relevant scientific advances.
Beth Miller | EurekAlert!
Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care
Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
29.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.06.2017 | Life Sciences
29.06.2017 | Seminars Workshops