Scientists at OHSU are about to launch a study of people that should clarify the link between sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease in humans, reports NPR.

It has been clear for decades that there is some sort of link. Sleep disorders are very common among people with Alzheimer’s disease.

For a long time, researchers thought this was simply because the disease was “taking out the centers of the brain that are responsible for regulating sleep,” Iliff says. But two recent discoveries have suggested the relationship may be more complicated.

The first finding emerged in 2009, when researchers at Washington University in St. Louis showed that the sticky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s develop more quickly in the brains of sleep-deprived mice.