Neuroscience

Connecting β-amyloid, memory, and sleep

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Science  14 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6249, pp. 702-703
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6249.702-c

One of the risk factors for developing Alzheimer's disease is poor sleep quality. People consolidate memories while they sleep, suggesting how disrupted sleep could contribute to the cognitive decline seen in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Mander et al. scanned the brains of healthy older adults for the presence of β-amyloid (Aβ), which is elevated in Alzheimer's disease, and found that it correlated with poor non–rapid eye movement slow-wave sleep quality. They then performed memory retention tests before and after sleep and found that subjects consolidated memories more poorly after a bad night of sleep. A computational model based on these findings suggests that Aβ disrupts people's ability to form memories through its detrimental effects on sleep.

Nat. Neurosci. 7, 1051 (2015).

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