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Sleep: A Novel Mechanistic Pathway, Biomarker, and Treatment Target in the Pathology of Alzheimer's Disease?

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Sleep disruption appears to be a core component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its pathophysiology. Signature abnormalities of sleep emerge before clinical onset of AD. Moreover, insufficient sleep facilitates accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ), potentially triggering earlier cognitive decline and conversion to AD. Building on such findings, this review has four goals: evaluating (i) associations and plausible mechanisms linking non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep disruption, Aβ, and AD; (ii) a role for NREM sleep disruption as a novel factor linking cortical Aβ to impaired hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation; (iii) the potential diagnostic utility of NREM sleep disruption as a new biomarker of AD; and (iv) the possibility of sleep as a new treatment target in aging, affording preventative and therapeutic benefits.

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