Does poor sleep cause dementia?

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It makes sense that after a night of poor sleep, we might not be thinking as clearly the following day. But what about engaging in poor sleep habits throughout our lifetime? Could that put us at risk for long-term cognitive impairments, such as dementia?

Even in people who don’t seem to be cognitively impaired, poor sleep seems to correlate with subtle changes in the same brain proteins that are used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The question is why.

Possible explanations

There are several explanations, which are not mutually exclusive and could all be true:

  • Sleep is biologically important for reducing or clearing harmful neurodegenerative proteins from our brains. Exciting new studies in mice have suggested that sleep may clean the brain of amyloid beta, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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What should U-M medical researchers study next? You can help decide

New WellSpringboard.org site combines crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

Iwsb homepagecropf you wish scientists would figure out a solution for a medical problem you face, or find answers for a loved one who struggles with a health condition, here’s your chance.

The University of Michigan wants your ideas for what its medical researchers should study. You can also lend your voice to ideas suggested by other members of the public, and help them gain steam.

And once a U-M researcher agrees to take up the idea and run with it, you can help make the research happen by donating online or volunteering to take part. U-M will even kick in funds for the hottest ideas.

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Stroke and sleep apnea: Strange bed partners

Stroke and sleep apnea manStroke researchers now know that sleep apnea is very common after stroke. We have found that about 75% of stroke patients have sleep apnea. This is important because sleep apnea has wide-ranging consequences for stroke patients.

Why it’s important for sleep apnea to be diagnosed in stroke patients

Sleep apnea is a predictor of poor outcomes following stroke, such as greater disability and higher mortality. The exact reasons for this are unknown at this time and warrant further study.

In addition, it is possible that sleep apnea contributes to increased stroke risk by promoting atherosclerosis, hyper coagulability (an abnormally increased tendency for the blood to clot) and adverse effects on cerebral hemodynamics (the forces involved in the circulation of blood in the brain).  Continue reading

Concussions and student athletes: Get the facts from medical researchers

 

With the recent release of the movie “Concussion”, concussions, particularly in athletes, have become the center of public and media conversations.

Concussions are an important health issue and should certainly be taken seriously. But it’s also important to remember that care from a medical professional with expertise in concussion diagnosis and treatment can generally result in a positive outcome for the patient.

Steps have been taken by schools, medical professionals and legislators around the country to help bring awareness to concussions. Continue reading

Continuing the quest to understand food allergies

Generous gift from Weiser family to allow U-M to conduct groundbreaking research

Editor’s note: James R. Baker, Jr., M.D. is the director of the U-M Food Allergy Center, which is committed to providing comprehensive care for those with food allergies and their families.

Today we are proud to announce the renaming of our center to the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center following a generous $10 million gift from the Weiser family.

The Food Allergy Center will now share a name with a remarkable woman who has tirelessly served as a champion for those with food allergies. Mary is an Ann Arbor mother of two children with severe allergies and has become a nationally recognized advocate for children globally who suffer from food allergies.  What excites me about this gift is the amazing potential it has to advance our understanding of food allergies and to advance the work Mary has led in accelerating toward better treatments.

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Meet Dr. Ted Lawrence, M.D., the new Cancer Center director

Dr. Ted Lawrence

Theodore Lawrence, M.D.

Ted Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of radiation oncology who was recently named director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses his vision and priorities as the center’s new leader, as well as his personal philosophies on patient care and research.

You began your career at Michigan 28 years ago. What are Michigan’s greatest strengths when it comes to cancer care?

The University of Michigan has created an unprecedented environment of Continue reading