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Disease Mechanisms: Circadian rhythms and sleep (Milestone 2.F)


Timeline Start - End

2016 - 2023

Research Implementation Area

Research on Disease Mechanisms

Create new research programs aimed at understanding the integrative physiology of circadian rhythms and sleep and its impact on brain aging and the risk of AD and AD-related dementias at multiple levels (epigenetic, gene expression, proteomic, neuronal, network, systems) to identify new targets and approaches for AD prevention.

Success Criteria

  • Launch at least 12 new projects focused on understanding the short-term and long-term consequences of disrupted/optimized circadian rhythms and sleep on brain aging and dementia and the mechanistic links between sleep/circadian disruption and AD and AD-related dementias to identify new targets and approaches for AD prevention.

Summary of Key Accomplishments

NIA supported 24 projects through three targeted and one general funding initiative, aimed at investigating the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in brain aging and dementia. Most of these projects are focused on elucidating the causal relationships between sleep, tau protein buildup, and amyloid plaque formation in humans and animal models of AD. Some of the projects are using genomic and computational techniques to evaluate the disruption of molecular clocks within various disease pathways. Several are investigating health disparities linked to differences in sleep and circadian rhythms, with the goal of enabling evidence-based interventions that address sleep as a modifiable risk factor for AD/ADRD.

The key accomplishments summary is current as of March 2022. 

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