CIHR Health Research in Action: Better sleep may lead to a better fight against Alzheimer’s disease

Sleeping couple

Close-up of a senior African American couple sleeping together in bedroom at home

Research team at Université de Montréal offers insights that may help both detect and treat the disease among patients in the future


More than 750,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This complex neurodegenerative condition destroys brain cells and causes a gradual deterioration of memory and thinking.


A key feature of AD is the development of plaques composed of amyloid beta proteins inside the brain. Researchers at Université de Montréal are studying how fragments of these proteins initially affect neurons in the hippocampus, which blocks communication between neurons and disrupt sleep patterns.


This research could provide new ways to diagnose and monitor the progression of AD. It may also support the use of new interventions that help improve sleep as a treatment for the disease.

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Scientists shed light on the brain mechanisms behind a debilitating sleep disorder

Dr. John Peever
Dr. John Peever

Researchers at the University of Toronto discover how the body’s muscles accidentally fall asleep while awake

Normally muscles contract in order to support the body, but in a rare condition known as cataplexy the body’s muscles “fall asleep” and become involuntarily paralyzed. Cataplexy is incapacitating because it leaves the affected individual awake, but either fully or partially paralyzed. It is one of the bizarre symptoms of the sleep disorder called narcolepsy. Continue reading

A world first: Douglas Institute researchers identify the neural circuits that modulate REM sleep

Antoine Adamantidis
Dr. Antoine Adamantidis

A team of scientists led by Dr. Antoine Adamantidis, a researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and an assistant professor at McGill University, has released the findings from their latest study, which will appear in the October issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature Neuroscience. Continue reading

Finding may suggest new treatments for sleep disorders

John Peever Two powerful brain chemical systems work together to paralyze skeletal muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, according to new research in the July 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The finding may help scientists better understand and treat sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, tooth grinding, and REM sleep behavior disorder.

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