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Lack of deep sleep may lead to Alzheimer's, researchers say


Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have documented that there is a link between lack of sleep and the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Star Tribune reports.

It is believed that sleep cleans out toxins, including harmful proteins that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Brain researchers have noticed that there are connections between sleep disorders and memory problems.

"Changes in sleep habits may actually be setting the stage" for dementia, says Jeffrey IIiff, a brain scientist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, as reported by NPR.

Iliff explained that among research animals that don't get enough deep sleep, those toxins could build up and damage the brain.

Iliff and other scientists at OHSU are about to conduct a study of people that should clarify the link between sleep problems and Alzheimer's disease in humans.

In 2013, Iliff was a member of a team that discovered how a lack of sleep could be speeding the development of Alzheimer's plaques.

Iliff said that what happens is that, "the fluid that's normally on the outside of the brain, cerebrospinal fluid - it's a clean, clear fluid - it actually begins to recirculate back into and through the brain along the outsides of blood vessels."

"That suggests at least one possible way that disruption in sleep may predispose toward Alzheimer's disease," he said.

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