Researchers from the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) blocked a sleep-regulating protein, orexin, in mice with a form of Alzheimer’s disease, making them sleep longer and blocking brain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The research appeared in the November 24th issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Also known as hypocretin, orexin is a molecule that controls wakefulness, as well as eating, motivation, and emotion. Orexin is thought to be important for maintaining regular sleep patterns. People with low orexin can have narcolepsy — a condition associated with sleeping excessively. Levels of orexin in the cerebrospinal fluid have recently been found to be decreased in Alzheimer’s disease, and these decreases correspond abnormal sleep patterns.

Source:  Alzheimer’s News Today




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December 5, 2014