The disturbed sleep cycle often experienced by Alzheimer's patients is due to the alteration of circadian rhythm in the brain, research has indicated.
'Clock genes', which regulate the rhythm, were already believed to be located in parts of the body such as the blood and skin, but according to researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, these genes are also present within the brain.
These circadian rhythms were changed within the brain of Alzheimer's patients, causing sleep-wake cycle disturbances.
Diane B Boivin from the institute said: "The altered sleep pattern worsens with disease progression and is the most frequent reason for institutionalization. Improved understanding of the process that underlies sleep-wake disruption may lead to better treatments or therapies."
This follows at study conducted at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow which identified a new technique for early detection of Alzheimer's.
The method involves the use of fluorescence signals to detect the clusters of peptide characteristic of the condition.