Melbourne researchers look to prevent Alzheimer’s disease by manipulating sleep patterns

Melbourne researchers are examining whether "deep sleep" can delay Alzheimer's disease.
With support of Dementia Australia, the scientists are monitoring seniors' sleep to see how slumber helps shed toxins from their brains, testing the impact of "deep slumber" on cognitive function.
Associate Professor Clare Anderson said the researchers were trying to induce the subjects into 'slow wave sleep', which is the deepest stage of sleep.
Associate Professor Clare Anderson is leading the study. (Nine)
The researchers induce slow wave sleep using acoustic stimulation and watch the volunteers' neural activity as they doze.
"We monitor their brain waves during their sleep and we deliver a very quiet audible tone during sleep and it's just like a "shush" sound," Anderson said.
The scientists are using the theory that slow wave sleep helps preserve memories and critically removes the build-up of toxins or brain plaques, associated with developing Alzheimer's disease.


Melbourne researchers are examining whether "deep sleep" can delay Alzheimer's Disease. (Nine)
Pryantha Jayawiskrema, 59, is among the study participants.
"I used to sleep probably about eight hours and more and now I am quite happy sleeping six hours," she said.
"I wake up at least to or three times in the middle of the night and then I find it a little bit difficult to go back to sleep."
Researchers are recruiting more study participants. Volunteers need to be aged between 60 and 80 and in good health.
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