Posted on Jun 25, 2014, 6 a.m.
After a night of no sleep, even a healthy brain has elevated levels of amyloid-beta, the protein that characterizes Alzheimer’s Disease.
A defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease is an accumulation in the brain of the amyloid-beta protein. Jurgen Claassen, from Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands), and colleagues enrolled 26 middle-aged men with normal sleep habits to have their protein levels measured before and after sleep, or a lack of it. In a monitored clinic setting, half of the men were randomly assigned to sleep the night, while the other half were kept awake. The researchers found that the men who got a good night’s sleep had amyloid-beta levels in their spinal fluid about 6% lower in the morning, as compared to when they had gone to bed. The men who were kept awake all night had no change in their amyloid-beta levels. The quality of sleep men got was also linked to how much of a decrease in amyloid-beta was measured. The study authors submit that: “Sleep deprivation, or prolonged wakefulness, interferes with a physiological morning decrease in [amyloid-beta protein]. We hypothesize that chronic sleep deprivation increases cerebral [amyloid-beta protein] levels, which elevates the risk of Alzheimer disease"
Ooms S, Overeem S, Besse K, Rikkert MO, Verbeek M, Claassen JA. “Effect of 1 Night of Total Sleep Deprivation on Cerebrospinal Fluid β-Amyloid 42 in Healthy Middle-Aged Men: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Neurol. 2014 Jun 2.