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Sleep Deprivation Fuels Accumulation Of Two Alzheimer’s Proteins In The Brain

The brain of a sleep-deprived person is imbued with excess of two proteins that are substantially associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the study published in the journal Science, a protein called tau is found in excess in the fluid that fills the brain and spinal cord of individuals with chronic sleep deprivation. The protein also drives neuron degeneration, and during Alzheimer’s, it scatters throughout the brain.

Similarly, sleep deprivation also induces accumulation of protein called amyloid-beta – a chunk of which dots the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

In the study, researchers went over the samples of cerebrospinal fluid of eight adult participants who were sleep-deprived for nearly 36 hours. They found 51.5 percent increase in their tau levels. Similarly, mice that were rob of sleep were found to have twice the level of tau compared to well-rested ones.

Another study also reported that the lack of sleep to be the legitimate cause of increased level of A-beta in the cerebrospinal fluid, and if preceded by a week of poor sleep, the levels of tau also increased.

Since lack of sleep increases the levels of tau and A-beta in the brain, it appears that the only way to curtail the risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptom is to treat sleep disorders during mid-life and get good amount of sleep as much as possible. Proper sleep helps our brain get rid of excess proteins and other unnecessary stuffs, so getting less sleep means that wash cycle is disturbed.

References:

  • Lack of sleep is tied to increases in two Alzheimer’s proteins (Science News)
  • The sleep-wake cycle regulates brain interstitial fluid tau in mice and CSF tau in humans (Science)
  • Association of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness With Longitudinal β-Amyloid Accumulation in Elderly Persons Without Dementia (Jama Neurology)

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Source: Sleep Deprivation Fuels Accumulation Of Two Alzheimer’s Proteins In The Brain – Sparkonit

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This 4-minute video shows how Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain and looks at promising ideas to treat and prevent the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most basic form of dementia, and scientists are trying to understand how the affects the nervous system. This video illustrates how neurons communicate in a healthy brain compared to that of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. In a healthy brain, cells such as astrocytes and microglia help keep neurons healthy by clearing away debris that builds up over time. In a person with Alzheimer’s disease, toxic changes in the brain destroy the ability of these cells to maintain a healthy environment for the neurons in the brain, ultimately causing a loss of neurons. Researchers believe that the Alzheimer’s disease process involves two proteins: beta amyloid protein and tau protein. Within the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, these proteins become compromised. Over time, abnormal tau accumulates and eventually forms tangles inside the neurons, and the beta amyloid clumps into plaques, which build up between the neurons. As the level of amyloid increases, tau rapidly spreads throughout the brain. Other changes that affect the brain may play a role in the disease, such as the inability of the vascular system to deliver enough blood and nutrients to the brain. These factors cause the brain to shrink in size, starting with the hippocampus. A person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses the ability to think, remember, make decisions, and function independently. Researchers are working on the key to understanding Alzheimer’s disease so that Alzheimer’s disease research can lead to the development of more effective therapies with the hope that we can delay or even prevent the devastation of dementia. This video was developed by the National Institute on Aging (https://www.nia.nih.gov/), part of the National Institutes of Health (https://www.nih.gov/). Want to learn more? Subscribe to the National Institute on Aging’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/NatlInst…. Find more information about Alzheimer’s disease from the National Institute on Aging: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzhei…. Find more health information from the National

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How Exercise Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk by Changing Your Brain

Senior woman on bicycle by beach

More and more studies are showing how regular exercise benefits the brain, and in particular, the aging brain. What’s less clear is how exactly exercise counters the cognitive decline that comes with aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s.

To find out, for nearly a decade, Ozioma Okonkwo, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and his colleagues have studied a unique group of middle-aged people at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Through a series of studies, the team has been building knowledge about which biological processes seem to change with exercise.

Okonkwo’s latest findings show that improvements in aerobic fitness mitigated one of the physiological brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s: the slowing down of how neurons breakdown glucose. The research, which has not been published yet, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association on Aug. 9.

Okonkwo works with the 1,500 people on the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP)—all of whom are cognitively normal, but have genes that put them at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, or have one or two parents who have been diagnosed with the disease, or both. In the latest study, Okonkwo recruited 23 people from the WRAP population who were not physically active. Eleven were asked to participate in an exercise regimen to improve their aerobic fitness for six months, and 12 served as the control.

All had their brains scanned to track Alzheimer’s-related brain changes including differences in how neurons metabolized glucose, since in people with Alzheimer’s glucose breakdown slows. At the end of the study period, the group that exercised more showed higher levels of glucose metabolism and performed better on cognitive-function tests compared to the controls.

“We are carrying our research full circle and beginning to demonstrate some causality,” says Okonkwo about the significance of his findings.

In their previous work, he and his team identified a series of Alzheimer’s-related biological changes that seemed to be affected by exercise by comparing, retrospectively, people who were more physically active to those who were not.

In this study, they showed that intervening with an exercise regimen could actually affect these processes. Taken together, his body of research is establishing exactly how physical activity contributes to significant changes in the biological processes that drive Alzheimer’s, and may even reduce the effect of strong risk factors such as age and genes linked to higher risk of neurodegenerative disease.

For example, in their earlier work his group confirmed that as people age, the presence of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes increases—including the buildup of amyloid, slower breakdown of glucose by brain cells, shrinking of the volume of the hippocampus (central to memory), and declines in cognitive function measured in standard recall and recognition tests.

But they found that in people who reported exercising at moderate intensity at least 150 minutes a week, as public health experts recommend, brain scans showed that these changes were significantly reduced and in some cases non-existent compared to people who were not active. “The association between age and Alzheimer’s brain changes was blunted,” says Okonkwo, “Even if [Alzheimer’s] got worse, it didn’t get worse at the same speed or rate among those who are physically active as in those who are inactive.”

In another previous study, they found the benefits of exercise in controlling Alzheimer’s processes even among those with genetic predisposition for the disease. When they divided the participants by fitness levels, based on a treadmill test and their ability to efficiently take in oxygen, they found that being fit nearly negated the effect of the deleterious gene ApoE4. “It’s a remarkable finding because it’s not something that was predicted,” says Okonkwo.

In yet another previous study, Okonkwo and his team also found that people with higher aerobic fitness showed lower amounts of white matter hyperintensities, brain changes that are signs of neuron degeneration and show up as brighter spots on MRI images (hence the name). White matter hyperintensities tend to increase in the brain with age, and are more common in people with dementia or cognitive impairment.

They form as neurons degrade and the myelin that surrounds their long-reaching arms—which helps nerves communicate with each other effectively—starts to deteriorate. In people with dementia, that process happens faster than normal, leading to an increase in white matter hyperintensities. Okonwko found that people who were more aerobically fit showed lower amounts of these hyperintensities than people who were less fit.

Given the encouraging results from his latest study of 23 people that showed intervening with exercise can change some of the Alzheimer’s-related brain changes of the disease, he plans to expand his small study to confirm the positive effect that exercise and better fitness can have in slowing the signs of Alzheimer’s. Already, his work has inspired a study launched earlier this year and funded by the National Institutes of Health that includes brain scans to track how physical activity affects biological factors like amyloid and glucose in people at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The cumulative results show that “there may be certain things we are born with, and certain things that we can’t change ]when it comes to Alzheimer’s risk], but a behavior like physical exercise might help us to modify that,” says Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

By Alice Park

Source: How Exercise Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk by Changing Your Brain | Time

How An Outsider In Alzheimer’s Research Bucked The Prevailing Theory & Clawed For Validation – Sharon Begley

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Robert Moir was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. The Massachusetts General Hospital neurobiologist had applied for government funding for his Alzheimer’s disease research and received wildly disparate comments from the scientists tapped to assess his proposal’s merits. It was an “unorthodox hypothesis” that might “fill flagrant knowledge gaps,” wrote one reviewer, but another said the planned work might add little “to what is currently known……..

Read more: https://www.statnews.com/2018/10/29/alzheimers-research-outsider-bucked-prevailing-theory/

 

 

 

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There Is Mounting Evidence That Herpes Leads To Alzheimers – Ruth Itzhaki

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More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia. Unfortunately, there is no cure, only drugs to ease the symptoms. However, my own research suggests a way to treat the disease. I have found the strongest evidence yet that the herpes virus is a cause of Alzheimer’s, suggesting that effective and safe antiviral drugs might be able to treat the disease. We might even be able to vaccinate our children against it……..

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181022-there-is-mounting-evidence-that-herpes-leads-to-alzheimers

 

 

 

 

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Alzheimer’s These psychiatric symptoms may be an early sign – Catharine Paddock PhD

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Working with the Brazilian Biobank for Aging Studies (BBAS) at the University of São Paulo, investigators at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) studied results of postmortem brain tissue tests and compared them with psychiatric symptoms obtained from detailed interviews conducted with people who knew the deceased well, such as relatives and carers. They suggest that their study — a paper on which now features in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease — reveals that psychiatric symptoms are not the cause of Alzheimer’s, but more likely early indicators of the disease…….

Read more: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323366.php

 

 

 

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Unfit in Middle Age & You Doomed – Alex Therrien

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Are you someone in middle age who keeps putting off that planned health kick for another day?

If so, a couple of new studies may give you a sense of urgency.

One paper found that elevated blood pressure in middle age increases the risk of dementia, while another says being frail at this time raises your chances of an early death.

So how bad is a lack of fitness in mid-life and is it condemning you to bad health in the future?

What’s the dementia risk?

A study published in the European Heart Journal found those who were aged 50 with a systolic blood pressure of 130mmHg or above were nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to develop dementia than those with ideal blood pressure.

It’s noteworthy that this is below the level of blood pressure considered to be high in the UK (140mmHg).

Researchers suggested a possible explanation for the link was that raised blood pressure could cause damage from “silent” or mini-strokes which can easily go un-noticed.

It’s worth pointing out that the study of 8,639 people shows a link between elevated blood pressure at 50 and dementia but cannot prove cause and effect.

Researchers found no such association for people who were aged 60 or 70.

And any increase in risk needs to be seen in the context of your overall likelihood of getting dementia at some point in your life.

It is estimated that the risk of getting Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is one in 10 for men and one in five for women from the age of 45.

Nevertheless, Alzheimer’s Research UK said it added to the evidence of a link between high blood pressure and dementia.

What about frailty?

Frailty is known to be a health risk to people in later life because, among other things, it increases the likelihood of falls.

But a new paper, which examined data from 493,737 people involved in the UK Biobank study, found that being frail earlier in life also appeared to be a predictor of ill health and early death.

The study, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, defined frailty as anyone who had at least three of the following health problems:

  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Weak grip strength
  • Low physical activity
  • Slow walking pace

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After accounting for other factors (including socio-economic status, a number of long-term conditions, smoking, alcohol and BMI), researchers found men between the ages of 37 and 45 were over two-and-a-half times more likely to die than non-frail people of the same age.

The figures were similar in all the other age groups (45-55, 55-65, and 65-73).

Similar associations were found in women who were judged to be frail and were 45 or older.

Frail people were also far more likely to have conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lead author of the study, Prof Frances Mair, from the University of Glasgow, said the findings suggested there was a need to both identify and treat frailty much earlier in life.

So what can we do?

Dr Peter Hanlon, a co-author on the frailty study, said the good news is that frailty might be reversible in people, particularly if it is identified early.

The key for those who are unfit in middle age is making healthy changes “as soon as possible”, says Ilaria Bellantuono, professor of musculoskeletal ageing at the University of Sheffield.

“The key is a healthy diet and exercise. It’s the only thing we know that works,” she says.

Losing weight, stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol, exercising regularly and eating less salt are just some of the things you can do to lower your blood pressure.

And similar advice applies to reducing your risk of dementia and helping to keep your brain healthy as you age, says Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK.

But the million pound question is how do you get people to change their habits?

Prof Bellantuono said that for some, health warnings won’t be enough.

Instead, finding an “internal motive that speaks to them” will be key to getting some people to exercise and be healthier.

“That could be picking up the grandchildren or going to watch the football,” she adds.

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