Jan 1, 1997

Neurodegeneration, sleep, and cerebral energy metabolism: a testable hypothesis

Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
M Mamelak


Varying degrees of metabolic arrest are used by many living species to survive in a harsh environment. For example, in hibernating mammals, neuronal activity and cerebral metabolism are profoundly depressed in most regions of the brain and limited energy resources are deployed to maintain vital cell functions. Gathering evidence suggests that energy resources are also limited in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and that this promotes metabolic stress and the degenerative process. Key steps in this process are energy requiring, and this further compromises cell energy reserves. It may be possible to slow the progress of these diseases by inducing slow-wave sleep (SWS) at night with gammahydroxybutyrate. Patients with these diseases sleep poorly and generate little SWS. SWS and hibernation are thought to be on a continuum of energy conservation. Thus, the induction of SWS may retard the degenerative process by depressing cell metabolism and by directing energy utilization to vital cell functions. In this way, GHB-induced SWS may duplicate the effects of hibernation and extend biologic time.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Senile Paranoid Dementia
Familial Alzheimer Disease (FAD)
Slow Virus Diseases
Energy Metabolism
Nerve Degeneration
Sleep Stages
Parkinson Disease
Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy

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