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Less Sleep, Better Sleep

Based on their genetics, some people don't need as much sleep as others, which could also influence their risk for disease, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have been studying people who only need four to six hours of sleep, less than the commonly cited eight hours that people need, and whether this trait also protects them against neurodegenerative diseases. As the AJC notes, the UCSF team has identified variants in five genes associated with Familial Natural Short Sleep.

In a new study appearing in iScience, the researchers examined how two of those variants — DEC2-P384R and Npsr1-Y206H — affected tau pathology and amyloid plaque development in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. They found that both variants led to reduced tau pathology in Alzheimer's-prone mice, and that DEC2-P384R in Alzheimer's-prone mice and Npsr1-Y206H in female disease-prone mice led to a slower accumulation of amyloid plaque, as compared to control mice.

"The results indicate that there is great potential in identifying the means to use improved sleep as a target for protecting against neurodegeneration, thus decreasing the prevalence of AD, and potentially, other forms of neurodegeneration," the researchers write at iScience.

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