Lack of Sleep is Connected to Alzheimer's by: Arielle
Neurons die because of amyloid-beta getting sticky and forming clumps in the brain tissue. The brain needs these neurons to send messages through the body.
The researchers did an experiment with mice. They tracked the level of amyloid-beta while the mice were awake and while the mice were sleeping. They found that there were higher levels of amyloid-beta while the mice where awake and less when the mice were sleeping.
Next Experiment Next, the researchers gave some of the mice a shot of orexin to keep them awake. <ul><li>The mice with the orexin had higher levels of the amyloid-beta plaques. </li></ul><ul><li>While the mice who slept normally had lower levels of plaque. </li></ul>amyloid-beta protein
The team also tested on mice that were predisposed to have plaques. Some of those mice were given an orexin blocker and kept awake another way. They found that the orexin blocker also blocks the build up of plaques. Despite this, the mice with less sleep still had more plaques than the rested mice.
Similar studies in people have not shown a direct connection between lack of sleep and the disease. Still, people who are genetically inclined to have the disease should still get plenty of sleep.
Researchers have thought about giving genetically predisposed people the orexin blocker to stop plaque build up. Unfortunately, to keep the person from being sleepy all the time, only a small amount could be given. Which is not enough to stop the build up of plaques.