While You Were Sleeping—Synapses Forged, Amyloid Purged | ALZFORUM

As you lay yourself down to sleep, pray your neurons pick good memories
to keep. A paper in the June 6 Science posits that during sleep, neurons
reinforce freshly learned skills by sprouting new dendritic spines, and
hence the number of synapses. Led by Wenbiao Gan at the Skirball
Institute in New York, the study challenges the old view that sleep is
when neurons prune synapses. Another sleep study, led by Jurgen Claassen
at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, adds to the growing
body of knowledge about how slumber affects brain levels of amyloid-β.
In the June 2 JAMA Neurology, these researchers report that a single
night of sleep deprivation prevents the drop in brain Aβlevels that
normally occurs during a good night’s sleep. Both studies raise more
questions than they answer, but one thing seems certain: When it comes
to supporting memory, sleep is probably a good thing.
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