Deep Sleep Helps Clear the Brain of Alzheimer’s-related Toxins

A new study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, finds that there is a link between sleep-dependent brain activity and the excretion of toxic proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists found that such activity was weaker in the brains of people with a higher risk of cognitive decline.Deep Sleep Helps Clear the Brain of Alzheimer's-related Toxins

For their study, a team of researchers studied 118 subjects from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The participants comprised 7 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 62 patients with mild cognitive impairment, 18 significant memory concern patients, and 31 healthy patients as a control group.

Lead researcher Dr. Xiao Liu, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, says: “The study linked the coupling between the resting-state global brain activity and [CSF] flow to Alzheimer’s disease pathology. The finding highlights the potential role of low frequency (less than 0.1 [hertz]) resting-state neural and physiological dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases, presumably due to their sleep-dependent driving of [CSF] flow to wash out brain toxins.”


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