Sleep history predicts late-life Alzheimer's pathology

June 17, 2019

Sleep patterns can predict the accumulation of Alzheimer's pathology proteins later in life, according to a new study of older men and women published in JNeurosci. These findings could lead to new sleep-based early diagnosis and prevention measures in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is associated with disrupted sleep and the accumulation of tau and proteins in the brain, which can emerge long before characteristic memory impairments appear. Two types of hippocampal sleep waves, slow oscillations and sleep spindles, are synced in young individuals, but have been shown to become uncoordinated in old age.

Matthew Walker, Joseph Winer, and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley found a decrease in slow oscillations/sleep spindle synchronization was associated with higher tau, while reduced slow-wave-activity amplitude was associated with higher β-amyloid levels.

The researchers also found that a decrease in sleep quantity throughout aging, from the 50s through 70s, was associated with higher levels of β-amyloid and tau later in life. This means that changes in brain activity during sleep and sleep quantity during these time frames could serve as a warning sign for Alzheimer's disease, allowing for early preventive care.
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Manuscript title: Sleep as a Potential Biomarker of Tau and β-Amyloid Burden in the Human Brain

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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