Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sleep Deprivation May Lead to Alzheimer's?

Neurologic diseases are one of the worst diseases and Alzheimer's disease is one of them. It's a progressive disease where there is loss of brain cells (neurons) which results in progressive memory loss. So far, there is nothing to reverse the process and our best plan of action is to try and limit the progression and prevent the disease.

This is just a start to try and understand the disease a bit better and hopefully someday to try and find a cure or a way to prevent the disease.

"The research was conducted in mice and is preliminary, and it may not apply to humans. Still, the possible link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's raises the prospect of possible treatments that target related pathways in the brain, explained study author Dr. David M. Holtzman, chairman of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"This might be a way to delay or prevent the disease by doing something in middle life" rather than waiting until something goes wrong, Holtzman said.

The Alzheimer's Association estimates that as many as 5.3 million people in the United States have the disease, which is the country's seventh-leading cause of death. Alzheimer's disease is incurable, and although some treatments are available, they only relieve symptoms. In some cases, those symptoms include sleep problems.

Holtzman and his colleagues were not initially looking at sleep, but instead wanted to better understand how a protein clogs the brains of people with Alzheimer's. It's not clear how these clogs, known as plaques, and structures called "tangles" cause symptoms. But experts think it may have something to do with their disruption of how neurons communicate with each other.

The researchers developed a way to monitor the levels of the protein by the hour in both humans -- through a continual measurement of their spinal fluid via a catheter -- and mice.

The researchers discovered that the level of the protein went up during waking hours and fell during sleep. Holtzman said that its levels may be related to brain activity, which is higher during waking hours.

In mice, the researchers found that sleep deprivation boosted the levels of the protein, which builds up in plaques.

If a person is awake for a long time, levels of the protein might build up, Holtzman said. This could play a role in middle age because Alzheimer's disease begins to clog the brain several years before symptoms become apparent."

For the entire article, click here. It reminds me of something I was discussing with my mother recently. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that for every disease Allah created there is a cure. All we need is the ability to discover that cure.

"There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment."(Al-Bukhari)


AlabasterMuslim said...

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Nasreen said...

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