Improving Sleep in Mouse Models of Alzheimer’s Enhances Memory Performance

Improving Sleep in Mouse Models of Alzheimer’s Enhances Memory Performance
In a new study entitled “Rescue of long-range circuit dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease models,” researchers discovered why Alzheimer's disease patients experience sleep disturbances and discovered potential therapeutics to counteract this effect. The team observed that improving sleep in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease also benefits their memory performance. The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Alzheimer's disease patients may experience sleep disturbances, a condition that often precedes Alzheimer's more characteristic symptoms, such as memory impairment. It is well established that sleep is a crucial event in memory formation since it is then that our brain generates sleep waves, known as slow oscillations, which play a key role not only in consolidating what we learned during the day, but also in forming long-term memories. The waves are generated in the brains’ cortex through a network of nerve cells and propagate to through the brain, reaching other brain areas, such as the hippocampus. Dr. Marc Aurel Busche, scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar and TUM Institute of Neuroscience noted in a press release, "These waves are a kind of signal through which these areas of the brain send mutual confirmation to say 'I am ready, the exchange of information can go ahead'. Therefore, there is a high degree of coherence between very distant nerve cell networks during sleep." The team directed by Dr. Busche and Prof. Dr. Arthur Konnerth from the Institute of Neuroscience, used mouse models that recapitulate the human’s features of Alzheimer's disease, namely the accumulation of β-amyloid plaques in patients’ brains. The team discovered that accumulation
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