Sleep, circadian rhythms and Alzheimer’s disease

The links between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease are still contentious but in this piece in Medical News Today Ana Sandoiu tries to shed a little light on the links. One study has suggested that poor sleep can lead to brain proteins such as amyloid beta and tau becoming tangled while another has suggested that sleep disorders may be an early stage of Alzheimer’s having found biological markers of the disease in the brains of people who reported insomnia or disrupted sleep. Now a new study, led by Erik S. Musiek, from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, has found that disruption to people’s body clocks could also signal the presence of pre-clinical evidence of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers used tracking devices and sleep diaries to track the sleep and circadian rhythms of 189 people with an average age of 66. 139 had no signs of Alzheimer’s and most of them had relatively-normal circadian rhythms. However, the 50 for whom brain scans and spinal-fluid tests showed the early knockings of Alzheimer’s all had a disrupted body clock meaning they rested more than normal during the day and less than normal at night. The researchers did emphasise that their finding were too preliminary to tell whether or not Alzheimer’s causes body-clock disruptions or vice versa.

You can read the whole of this article here.

About John Gale

I work as a medical librarian in the Joint Education and Training (JET) library at Leighton Hospital, Crewe. I keep clinicians up to date with the latest research, help them to find the best information about treatment and train them to find - and assess - high-quality information for themselves. I also help doctors and nurses find and write high-quality information for patients.
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