In this article, Dr. Raman Malhotra, Co-Director of the SLUCare Sleep Disorders Center at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Dr. Alon Avidan of the University of California, Los Angeles discuss the connections between sleep and cerebral degenerative disorders. Degenerative diseases of the central nervous system are a large and varied group of disorders that affect a range of neurologic function. Sleep disorders are commonly seen in patients with cerebral degenerative diseases. Much of this may be related to the underlying central nervous system damage to sleep regulatory centers of the brain. Research has shown that sleep disorders may serve as a biomarker to predict development of a future neurodegenerative disorder. Increasing new data has suggested that disrupted sleep may accelerate the degenerative process in conditions such as Alzheimer dementia and Parkinson disease. One potential mechanism is emerging evidence of the role of sleep in glymphatic clearance of metabolic waste products from the brain. Prompt attention to and treatment of sleep symptoms can result in significant improvement in quality of life or possibly delay in progression of disease.
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