GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 25

health
How we sleep today may forecast when
Alzheimer's disease begins
W
"
hat would you do if you knew how long you
had until Alzheimer's disease set in? Don't
despair. New UC Berkeley research suggests
one defense against this virulent form of dementia
- for which no treatment currently exists - is deep,
restorative sleep, and plenty of it.
Neuroscientists Matthew Walker and
Joseph Winer have found a way to estimate,
with some degree of accuracy, a time frame
for when Alzheimer's is most likely to strike
in a person's lifetime.
" We have found that the sleep you're
having right now is almost like a crystal ball
telling you when and how fast Alzheimer's
pathology will develop in your brain, "
said Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of
psychology and neuroscience and senior
author of the paper published today,
Sept. 3, in the journal Current Biology.
" The silver lining here is that there's
something we can do about it, " he
added. " The brain washes itself during
deep sleep, and so there may be the
chance to turn back the clock by getting
25 GRAND Winter 2022
more sleep earlier in life. "
Walker and fellow researchers matched the overnight
sleep quality of 32 healthy older adults against
the buildup in their brains of the toxic plaque known
as beta-amyloid, a key player in the onset and progression
of Alzheimer's, which destroys
A new study forecasts
the onset of Alzheimer's
disease based
on people's sleep patterns.
"
memory pathways and other brain functions and
afflicts more than 40 million people worldwide.
Their findings show that the study participants who
started out experiencing more fragmented sleep
and less non-rapid eye movement
(non-REM) slow-wave sleep were most
likely to show an increase in beta-amyloid
over the course of the study.
Although all participants remained
healthy throughout the study period,
the trajectory of their beta-amyloid
growth correlated with baseline sleep
quality. The researchers were able to
forecast the increase in beta-amyloid
plaques, which are thought to mark the
beginning of Alzheimer's.
A wake-up call
" Rather than waiting for someone to
develop dementia many years down the
Continued on next page
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GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022

Contents
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - Cover1
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 2
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 3
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - Contents
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