By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19
A good night’s rest is hard to come by these days, however a study led by Yo-El S. Ju MD from Washington University suggests that it is more important than one may realize. They found that inadequate sleep causes the Alzheimer’s related protein, amyloid beta, to increase.
They tested the amyloid beta levels from the cerebral spinal fluid of 22 middle aged (35-65 years old) individuals on two separate occasions about a month apart. The first time, levels were tested after some subjects were given a lower quality of sleep by disturbing them with frequencies through the night to cause lighter sleep. The second time, subjects were given opposite treatment of sleep. Subjects given lighter sleep were undisturbed and vice versa. Researchers found that a single night of interrupted sleep resulted in an increase of amyloid beta with r= 0.610 and P=0.009. Researchers believe this increase is affected by slow wave activity. They also analyzed levels of another Alzheimer’s biomarker, tau, after analyzing sleep of subjects over about a week. They found that lower quality sleep over a longer period of time related to increased tau levels with r = 0.543 and P = 0.045.
Restlessness, especially over a longer period of time, can have long lasting effects by leading to the increase of Alzheimer’s related proteins.
- Y. Ju, et al, Slow wave sleep disruption increases cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β levels. Brain 0, 1-8 (2017). doi: 10.1093/brain/awx148
- Image retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alzheimer%27s_disease_brain_comparison.jpg