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Sleep deprived brains might be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s

| | February 7, 2019

A sleep-deprived brain is awash in excess amounts of not one but two proteins whose bad behavior is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study finds excessive amounts of a protein called tau in the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord of extremely sleep-deprived adults. Tau, which is tied to nerve cell death, tangles and spreads throughout the brain during Alzheimer’s. An earlier report on these sleepy adults found that the protein amyloid-beta — globs of which dot the brains of Alzheimer’s patients — also increased.

Samples of cerebrospinal fluid collected from eight adults, monitored during a night of normal sleep and over the course of 36 hours of sleep deprivation, revealed a 51.5 percent increase in tau in participants robbed of shut-eye. And sleep-deprived mice had twice the amount of tau as well-rested mice, researchers report.

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Earlier work by these researchers had suggested that the quality of sleep might affect tau levels; this time, it’s been linked to duration of sleep.

During sleep, the brain appears to flush out excess proteins and other debris, so perhaps less sleep means that wash cycle is curtailed.

Read full, original post: Lack of sleep is tied to increases in two Alzheimer’s proteins

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