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Compared with other primates, humans sleep less and have a much higher prevalence of Alzheimer ’s disease (AD) pathology. This article reviews evidence relevant to the hypothesis that natural selection

Compared with other primates, humans sleep less and have a much higher prevalence of Alzheimer ’s disease (AD) pathology. This article reviews evidence relevant to the hypothesis that natural selection for shorter sleep time in humans has compromised the efficacy of physiological mechanisms that protect against AD during sleep. In particular, the glymphatic system drains interstitial fluid from the brain, removing extra-cellular amyloid beta (eAβ) twice as fast during sleep.

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    • 2017-01-24
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    Nesse, R. M., Finch, C. E., & Nunn, C. L. (2017). Does selection for short sleep duration explain human vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease? Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2017(1), 39-46. doi:10.1093/emph/eow035

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