Circadian alterations in patients with neurodegenerative diseases: neuropathological basis of underlying network mechanisms (Fifel and Videnovic, 2020)
Spoiler alert: sunlight and good sleep are primo here. Sure, exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight are important, but the links between circadian arrhythmia and neurodegenerative diseases are very compelling.
Evidence is multi-fold: assessing cortisol & melatonin rhythms in patients and their 1st degree relatives, in vitro studies on patient's cells, post-mortem analysis of brain tissue, sleep/actigraphy studies, etc., etc.
I know what you're thinking: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and now this?!
Non-diet tips: 1) sunrise; 2) wear blue blockers. Every. Night; 3) good sleep.
By their very nature, neurodegenerative diseases worsen with age. Circadian rhythmicity does, too, which is why it becomes more important to vote early and vote often. These two things are linked, and it may be one of those 'this thing loads the gun, that thing pulls the trigger.'
Sleep and circadian disturbances are some of the main causes of institutionalization in the elderly - it's really hard on caregivers.
There are societal and economic burdens, too. Blue blockers, stat.
If only we could stop the planet from rotating, we'd have bigger fish to fry, but none of this would be a problem. That sounded better in my head.
Chronic temporal misalignment due to imperatives of modern society: artificial light at night, mistimed meals, frequent flying across time zones, shift work, social jet lag, etc. I suspect the way in which circadian arrhythmia arises dictates, in part, the resulting health malady (eg, neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, fertility, etc.).
What is commonly seen: fragmented sleep, increased nocturnal awakenings after sleep onset, excessive daytime sleepiness, shortened sleep duration (except in some cases of Parkinson's, which exhibit hypersomnia).
In postmortem analysis, reduced SCN volume & total cell counts, lower neuron/glia ratio (specific to Alzheimer's). Impaired rhythmicity in a variety of circadian rhythm genes (eg, GABA, AVP, VIP, TGFa, PK2, etc.).
This results in deteriorating cognitive abilities such as attention and memory, mood disorders, and alterations in motivation.
Non sequiter or some more tips-
Take care of your eyes. Children are actually more sensitive than elderly to artificial light at night because they have better eyesight. Similarly, elderly need more sunrise/sunlight than children because they're eyes are less sensitive to it. This is where those colorful foods come in: eg, lutein & zeaxanthin. Berries, bell peppers, egg yolks, red/pink shrimp, etc.
Meal timing: sunlight is the main zeitgeber for the master clock in your brain (SCN). The master clock contributes to entraining peripheral clocks, but that can be overridden by mistimed/irregular meals.
SAVE. YOUR. BRAIN.
That's all for now!
What do you think? Any tips? Drop 'em in the comments section!
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Get some dark chocolate, too :)