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18 Jan | 2023

BBRC's AlfaSleep project publishes an observational study protocol on sleep quality and its relationship with Alzheimer's disease

A research team from the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC) has developed a protocol for the AlfaSleep study, focused on a better understanding of the mechanisms that relate sleep to Alzheimer's disease. The paper, published in the scientific journal BMJ Open, sets out the aims and analysis methods of the project, which include both subjective and objective measures of sleep, fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer's and glial activation, in addition to data of brain structure and cognition.

Sleep quality can be affected by various abnormalities from the preclinical stage of Alzheimer's, and recent BBRC studies have shown that poor sleep quality is associated with a greater alteration in biomarkers of the disease. In this sense, AlfaSleep aims to deepen the current knowledge about the mechanisms underlying the association between sleep and cognitive impairment and thus pave the way for developing non-invasive biomarkers and preventive strategies aimed at sleep. The study has the participation of two hundred people currently enrolled in the ALFA+ cohort, which is part of the Alfa project, promoted by the ”la Caixa” Foundation. 

"The objective of the AlfaSleep project is to characterize sleep patterns with objective measures in middle-aged adults without cognitive impairment and with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's in the future, analyzing biomarkers and state-of-the-art neuroimaging data", explains Oriol Grau Rivera, head of the Clinical Research Group and Risk Factors for Neurodegenerative Diseases of the BBRC and one of the main authors of the study. "Thanks to its multimodal approach and the participating cohort of the study, enriched by risk factors, the project will contribute to the understanding of the role of sleep as a risk factor and the early clinical manifestation of Alzheimer's."

Bibliographic reference
Fauria K, Minguillon C, Knezevic I, et al. ‘Exploring cognitive and biological correlates of sleep quality and their potential links with Alzheimer’s disease (ALFASleep project): protocol for an observational study’. BMJ Open 2022; 12: e067159. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-067159