Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a method to evaluate brain activity during sleep, linked to the initial phases of Alzheimer’s disease, often manifesting long before dementia symptoms appear.
The digital biomarker uses electroencephalography (EEG) that can be recorded using a simple headband to detect brain wave patterns related to memory reactivation in sleep. These patterns are linked to the system that processes memories in deep sleep.
They showed that results showed that the headband could identify a relationship between EEG readings and levels of some molecular changes that indicate pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, according to the statement. The findings were published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. The biomarker also showed that EEG signals could also detect early stages of mild cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Brice McConnell - senior author of the study, finding early indications of disease using accessible and scalable headband devices in a home setting is a huge advancement in mitigating Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stages. According to the researchers, this is the largest study of its kind to date.
The scientists found abnormal levels of proteins are related to sleep memory reactivations, which could be detected in people’s brainwave patterns before they experienced any symptoms. This is a step towards using wearables such as the digital biomarker for disease detection, according to the statement. “This is proof of principle that brain waves during sleep can be turned into a digital biomarker, and our next steps involve perfecting the process,” McConnell said in the statement.
According to lifestyle.livemint.com & scitechdaily.com