An expert point of view on the mechanisms linking sleep disturbance with a higher risk for dementia, by Dr. Bryce Mander, from the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California.
- Sleep disturbance is prevalent in neurodegenerative conditions.
- Sleep disorders increase dementia risk, potentially directly causing as much as 15% of all Alzheimer’s disease cases.
- Multiple sleep disturbances impact the production, clearance, and spread of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
- Treating sleep disorders might reduce Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk, AD pathological accumulation, and cognitive impairment, though evidence is scarce, and more research is underway.
Dr. Mander utilizes a multimodal neuroimaging approach, combining high density electroencephalography (hdEEG), structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) to examine relationships between sleep physiology, cognitive aging, and dementia pathophysiology. The ultimate goal of his research program is to characterize how and when sleep interacts with neurodegenerative pathology and medical disorders to impact dementia risk, and to determine if sleep interventions can effectively promote healthy brain aging in older adults with or at risk for neurodegenerative dementias.