Detecting Alzheimer’s Symptoms Early

September 17, 2012

Most people know the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease—the slow onset of forgetting, of losing your train of thought… but by then, there’s already brain damage, and our best treatments can only slow further progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, not stop or reverse it.

But what if we caught it earlier? A new study in mice has found what could be an early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease: changing sleep patterns.

Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by the build up of plaque in the brain, and early on that plaque may cause a change of sleep patterns. The mice developed a pattern of sleeping less and less, up to about a quarter less per day (being nocturnal).

Identifying Alzheimer’s symptoms earlier could lead to a bigger breakthroughs in treatment, or at least earlier treatment which delays the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and give the individual more years with better brain function.

Although Alzheimer’s Disease is getting a lot of attention from medical researchers because of the potential profits to be made as baby boomers age, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The specific hows and whys of Alzheimer’s aren’t quite fleshed out yet, and many promising drugs have failed in larger trials.

What do you think? Share your voice in the comments!

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