MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nora D. Volkow MD
Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Findings from animal studies had shown that sleep deprivation increased the content of beta-amyloid in brain, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. We wanted to test whether this also happened in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. We found that indeed one night of sleep deprivation led to an accumulation of beta amyloid in the human brain, which suggest that one of the reasons why we sleep is to help clean our brain of degradation products that if not removed are toxic to brain cells.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The importance of good sleep habits to the health of the brain and why the readers should protect time to sleep sufficient hours.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: It will be important to evaluate if the accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain is cleared following a night of sleep and to determine if the clearance is impaired when the sleep hours are chronically restricted. IN other words is there a point when after too many night of impaired sleep the brain no longer can catch up and beta-amyloid can no longer be cleared up leading to the formation of plaques and brain toxicity.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Our findings should not be interpreted such that one-night sleep deprivation would lead to Alzheimer’s disease. But we believe disruptions in sleep impose a challenge on the brain, particularly for removing waste products such as beta-amyloid, that over time could contribute to neurodegenerative disorders.
Shokri-Kojori E, et al. (2018). β-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/29/1721694115.full
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