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Health Spotlight: Intermittent fasting and better sleep fight Alzheimer’s

Health Spotlight: Intermittent fasting and better sleep fight Alzheimer’s

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It steals our memories and impacts our minds. Alzheimer’s disease is being called a health crisis as worldwide care is estimated at more than $1 trillion and it’s expected to get worse. There is no cure, but new research reveals that how you eat and sleep could impact it.

Every 65 seconds, someone in America is told they have Alzheimer’s disease. Today, more than 6 million Americans are living with it, and now, new research suggests our circadian rhythm, or internal clock, could play a role in cognitive decline.

“Eighty percent of the patients that suffer Alzheimer’s disease will manifest some in the regulation,” said Paula Desplats, PhD, Professor of the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “These patients will be very sleepy during the day, but then, during the night, they will be awake.”

Desplats’ team at UC San Diego is one of the first to study how intermittent fasting could impact our internal clocks, affect our sleep, and change our brains.

“The rhythms of activities throughout the day and these rhythms are broken, that is even a biomarker or a potential predictor of developing dementia down the road,” said Desplats.

The mice diet was what would be equivalent to 14 hours of fasting for people. The animals exhibited better memory and regular sleep patterns.

“These animals that were fasting had really fewer senile plaques in the brain,” said Desplats.

The next step – human clinical trials, and unlike drug-based treatments, this lifestyle change could be a simple way to prevent and slow the progression of this devastating disease.

“If we can improve, if we can change, even a little bit, this progression curve, if we can keep these patients with their families, that’s what we want to try to do,” said Desplats.

Alzheimer’s disease may not be the only disease impacted by our circadian rhythms – other studies in mice have shown that it also may impact people with Huntington’s disease.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.