In a new study, researchers found that sleep patterns can predict the accumulation of Alzheimer’s pathology proteins later in life.
The new finding may help develop new sleep-based diagnosis and prevention tools in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alzheimer’s disease is linked to disrupted sleep and the accumulation of tau and proteins in the brain.
These symptoms can occur long before memory impairments appear.
Previous research has shown that two types of sleep waves, slow oscillations, and sleep spindles, are synced in young people, but they become uncoordinated in old age.
In the study, the team examined sleep waves of older men and women.
They found a decrease in slow oscillations/sleep spindle synchronization was linked to higher tau, while reduced slow-wave-activity amplitude was linked to higher β-amyloid levels.
They also found that a decrease in sleep quantity throughout aging, from the 50s through 70s, was linked to higher levels of β-amyloid and tau later in life.
Thee findings show that changes in brain activity during sleep and sleep quantity during these time frames may serve as a warning sign for Alzheimer’s disease.
This can help develop early preventive care for people with a high risk of the disease.
The leaders of the study are Matthew Walker and Joseph Winer.
The study is published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
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