Chronic sleep disturbance could trigger onset of Alzheimer's

A mouse study has found that mice (genetically engineered for Alzheimer’s) who were sleep deprived for eight weeks, not only showed significant cognitive impairment, but also showed a significant increase in the amount of tau protein that became phosphorylated and formed tangles. The other main characteristic of Alzheimer’s, amyloid-beta plaques, was not affected.

The findings are consistent with growing evidence of a link between sleep disturbance and Alzheimer’s, and suggests that chronic sleep disturbance accelerates Alzheimer’s pathology, and should be treated.

The sleep-deprived mice were given 20 hours of light each day, while the control mice were kept on a schedule of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/tu-csd031714.php

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