Lack of ZZZZs Linked to Alzheimer's in Mice

By Eliza Strickland | September 25, 2009 4:20 pm

sleepHere’s yet another reason to get a good night’s rest: Researchers have found a link between the lack of sleep and the development of Alzheimer’s in mice.

The researchers studied levels of amyloid beta — a protein that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s — in mice genetically engineered to have a version of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid levels rose in the brain when the mice were awake, and fell when they slept. When the researchers prevented the mice from sleeping, it made matters worse [Reuters]. Sleep deprivation accelerated the formation of plaques made of amyloid beta, they found.

The study, published in Science, may lead to other studies that examine whether people with chronic sleep problems are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Says lead researcher Jae-Eun Kang: “The hope would be to show that treating sleep problems in humans is important not just for the immediate effect of having a normal life, but also for the long-term effect of having a healthier brain” [Bloomberg].

Related Content:
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DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Sleep

Image: iStockphoto

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain
MORE ABOUT: Alzheimer’s, sleep
  • Wellescent Health Blog

    With cancer, heart disease, diabetes and now Alzheimer’s all tied to lack of sleep, nurses, fireman and other shift workers will soon be demanding hazard pay for keeping the lights on 24×7 while they battle to get quality sleep. Its quite evident from all this research that our systems are wired to the daylight cycles and to regular rest that our modern lives simply do not offer.

  • broadfoot taylor

    so, wut´s the flipside ov too much sleep?

  • Nomsta


  • Laura_ICARAStudy

    Any research that provides insight into Alzheimer’s is critical to finding a cure. It is important for patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s to consider participating in clinical studies. One such study is the ICARA Study (, whose goal is to explore if an investigational drug, called Bapineuzumab, can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Clinical studies that test new treatments are the best chance we have for fighting this disease.

  • Yonderman

    These mice were “genetically engineered to have a version of Alzheimers”. Did they perform this study on non-engineered mice? And if so what was the result of that study? I’m not an expert by any means, but this study seems a bit tainted if the only mice studied were already pre-engineered to get alzheimers.


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