Waking nightmare: Disturbed body clock may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease

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In a new study from Shoolini University, researchers found that disturbed body clock may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Our body is tuned to function in a synchronous manner with a “circadian” or day-and-night rhythm.

Alterations to daily lifestyles due to the current stressful routines people follow can disrupt the body’s day-night cycle for longer periods.

Recent studies in animals have shown that even chronic light exposure can disrupt the circadian rhythm and cause memory deficits seen in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Interestingly, circadian rhythm disruption has also been frequently reported in patients suffering from AD. However, the cause-and-effect relationship between AD and circadian rhythm disruption remains unclear.

In the study, the team tested the effect of circadian rhythm disruption caused by chronic light exposure on the physiology and functional abilities.

In a previous study, the team had reported that upon chronic light exposure for two months, rats exhibit cognitive deficits along with a sub-clinical accumulation of amyloid β (Aβ), the pathogenic protein known to form aggregates in AD.

In the current study, they exposed adult rats to constant light conditions for four months and compared them with rats subjected to a normal light-dark cycle taken as the control group.

They found that chronic light exposure disrupted the expression of genes like Per2 that follow circadian rhythms.

Neurotransmitters were dysregulated in rats with circadian rhythm disruption due to chronic light exposure.

Additionally, these animals showed disrupted metabolic functions, suggestive that their digestive systems may also have been adversely affected by the disrupted circadian rhythms.

The researchers also found that circadian rhythm disruption due to chronic light exposure caused memory and cognitive deficits in the rats.

The team suggests that fluoxetine, a drug used for treating anxiety and hyperactivity, could alleviate physiological and functional abnormalities associated with circadian rhythm disruption.

Sure enough, fluoxetine treatment prevented oxidative damage, Aβ accumulation, and rescued memory and cognitive deficits in the treated rats.

Overall, the study suggests that long-term circadian rhythm disruption induces AD-like pathology, which can be prevented by treatment with fluoxetine.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about your body clock linked to Alzheimer’s disease risk and findings of Alzheimer’s: New study may have uncovered drug that can prevent the disease.

For more information about Alzheimer’s and your health, please see recent studies about these existing drugs may help combat Alzheimer’s disease and results showing a big breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience. One author of the study is Ashish Sharma.

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