Filed under: Alzheimer's, Connections, Health, NPR, Science, Sleep | Tags: Alzheimer's, beta amyloid, dementia, health, jim downey, NPR, science, Shakespeare, sleep
Interesting. They may have found the reason that animals sleep: in order to flush the brain of toxins which build up during waking hours.
And more importantly, this may also be part of the explanation for Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementia. From the NPR article linked above:
The brain-cleaning process has been observed in rats and baboons, but not yet in humans, Nedergaard says. Even so, it could offer a new way of understanding human brain diseases including Alzheimer’s. That’s because one of the waste products removed from the brain during sleep is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with the disease.
That’s probably not a coincidence, Nedergaard says. “Isn’t it interesting that Alzheimer’s and all other diseases associated with dementia, they are linked to sleep disorders,” she says.
Researchers who study Alzheimer’s say Nedergaard’s research could help explain a number of recent findings related to sleep. One of these involves how sleep affects levels of beta amyloid, says , a professor of neurology Washington University in St. Louis who wasn’t involved in the study.
Perhaps it is time for a nap …
*With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare.
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