JUPITER, Fla. – Funding from the Alzheimer’s Association is supporting an investigation into sleep patterns and brain health.
The grant to Dr. Carmen Varela, assistant professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, will allow for research into the role of a region of the brain called the thalamus, which remains active during sleep.
“The thalamus is a very interesting part of our brain. It’s very deep in the central part of our brain and it’s connected to many other brain regions, such that it’s considered a critical hub for the distribution of information in the brain and for the coordination of different brain regions,” Varela said.
Early disruption of sleep has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The study, which is expected to last about three years, could lead to the development of medications to help create a stable pattern of thalamic activity during sleep and ensure normal cognitive function.
E-cigs and smoking relapse
Also in today’s health news, a recent study finds that cigarette smokers who quit but switch to e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, are more likely to relapse back to smoking.
An analysis by researchers at the University of California San Diego found that the risk of relapse was over 8% higher for those who substituted other products for cigarettes, rather than quitting altogether.
Contrary to previous conclusions by the CDC, researchers say the evidence indicates that switching to e-cigarettes made it less likely, not more likely, to stay off of cigarettes.