Poor sleep can contribute to dementia by disrupting the brain’s ability to remove toxic waste products that contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia. The Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) gene plays an important role in the capacity of the brain to “flush out” waste. However, little is understood about the role of the AQP4 gene in the association between sleep and dementia. This could be crucial in identifying who would benefit most from sleep treatments designed to prevent dementia.
This study aims to investigate whether people with different variants of the AQP4 gene are more at risk of cognitive decline and early dementia biomarkers in the face of poor sleep. This will be done by looking at genetic sequencing in three different cohorts and comprehensively assessing sleep, and early dementia biomarkers, as well as cognitive assessments over time. The results of this research will identify whether certain people are at higher risk of negative brain health associated with poor sleep.
Dr Marina Cavuoto is a clinical neuropsychologist and post-doctoral research fellow in the Epidemiology of Dementia lab, headed by Associate Professor Matthew Pase at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Melbourne.