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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 55 million people worldwide. People with Alzheimer’s disease often experience altered circadian rhythms, manifesting as altered sleep/wake cycles and difficulty in falling and staying asleep. A new study in mice suggests that time-restricted eating restores normal circadian rhythmicity and reduces amyloid-beta plaque formation in the brain.

Using a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers gave one group of mice free access to food throughout the day but fed another group on a time-restricted schedule (limited to a six-hour window each day), translating to about 14 hours of fasting for humans. Then, they evaluated the animals' gene expression, amyloid-beta accumulation, and cognitive performance.

They found that the mice fed on the time-restricted schedule had better memory function, were less hyperactive at night, followed a more regular sleep schedule, and experienced fewer disruptions during sleep than the mice allowed free access to food. The restricted mice also performed better on cognitive assessments and exhibited less amyloid-beta accumulation in the brain. Time-restricted feeding also normalized gene expression in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and often affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

These findings suggest that time-restricted eating mitigates the behavioral symptoms and pathological features associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Robust evidence indicates that time-restricted eating influences multiple aspects of human health. Learn more about time-restricted eating in this clip featuring Dr. Satchin Panda.

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