Tags: alzheimer | sleep | disrupt

Study: Sleep Problems Flag Early Alzheimer's

Friday, 07 Sep 2012 11:06 AM




Brief memory lapses may not be the only early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. New research suggests sleep disruptions may be among the first indicators of the fatal neurological condition.
That’s the chief finding of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, based on a study of laboratory mice that they said could lead to new early-detection techniques.
The research, reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that when the first signs of Alzheimer's plaques appear in the brain – a hallmark of the memory-stealing condition – the normal sleep-wake cycle is significantly disrupted.
"If sleep abnormalities begin this early in the course of human Alzheimer's disease, those changes could provide us with an easily detectable sign of pathology," said lead researcher Dr. David M. Holtzman, head of Washington University's Department of Neurology. "As we start to treat Alzheimer's patients before the onset of dementia, the presence or absence of sleep problems may be a rapid indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding."
Holtzman’s research team is now evaluating whether sleep problems occur in patients who have markers of Alzheimer's disease, such as plaques in the brain, but have not yet developed memory or cognitive problems.
"If these sleep problems exist, we don't yet know exactly what form they take – reduced sleep overall or trouble staying asleep or something else entirely," he said. "But we're working to find out."

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New research suggests sleep disruptions may be among the first indicators of the fatal neurological condition.
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2012-06-07
Friday, 07 Sep 2012 11:06 AM
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