The Portland Business Journal interviews Jeffrey Iliff and Bill Rooney, the researchers who discovered that amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s may be linked to sleep deprivation.
You’ve been studying the connection between sleep and Alzheimer’s for awhile. What do you make of the recent media interest?
Iliff: We didn’t necessarily publish anything new. The subject is one that the public is very, very interested in. Anything talking about sleep, which every one cares about, and Alzheimer’s, which everyone cares about, raises attention. Put a headline about Alzheimer’s and lack of sleep on a story about Nascar and people would read it.
Are you concerned about the headlines overstating the connection, since there’s still research to be done?
Iliff: I thought the NPR piece was played very straight and the commentary and the content of the actual piece was right on. It talked about animal work that had been done and an association between sleep disruption and Alzheimer’s pathology. It talked about the difficulty involved in trying to make that connection in humans. What ends up happening is when you move in concentric circles in the media from that thing, it gets further from the truth.