A new report from Elsevier Analytical Services (Philadelphia, PA) shows that sleep and behavior have become important topics within research for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study shows that scientists who explore the connection between sleep and AD are developing new theories on the early warning signs of the disease, which could help to slow its progression. In addition to sleep, other behavioral research topics include learning and gait.
"Although the portion of papers that focus on the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer's is relatively small, citation activity within that cluster tells us that it could be where research is heading in the future,” said Maria de Kleijn, senior vice president, Elsevier Analytical Services.
The report identified 2 main clusters of Alzheimer's research. The first focuses on the molecular mechanisms that generate toxic entities in cells. The second involves clinical research in humans, epidemiology, and population health research. The study suggests, however, that there are no major bodies of research connecting basic scientific research and research in humans.
"It is particularly interesting to see that the field is quite split into 2 separate areas with few mechanistic studies in humans,” said Louise Serpell, professor of biochemistry, University of Sussex. “I think this is probably changing with MRI of living patients and brain tissue use (electron microscopy examination of post-mortem brain). The use of pluripotent stem cells may help to bridge the gap between living human studies and biochemical and neuroscience mechanistic studies."