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Shedding light on sleep and diseases

Several recent studies in mice have helped our understanding of sleep and how it is linked to stress and diseases such as Alzheimer's.

A team at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, has discovered (article & podcast) that sleep apnoea – a serious disorder where breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep – is linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Elizabeth Coulson, at UQ said: “We found sleep deprivation alone in mice caused only mild cognitive impairment. But we developed a novel way to induce sleep-disrupted breathing and found the mice displayed exacerbated pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Meanwhile, new abstracts for the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Neuroscience 2022 (being held in San Diego, USA until 16 November), have shown some of the mechanisms connecting sleep and stress in mice studies.

For example, a study at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, found that a type of immune cell may protect against stress-related sleep disturbance.

While research at the University College Cork, Ireland, showed how the time of day – including the transition from sleep to awake – controls the regulation of stress by the gut microbiome.



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