Research Projects

Could a Parkinson’s disease drug improve sleep and memory in Alzheimer’s?

Awarded to:
Dr Jonathan Blackman

Current award:

University of Bristol

5 August 2020 - 4 August 2023

Full project name:

Measuring and Improving Sleep in people with Prodromal and Mild Alzheimer's Disease






Dr Jonathan Blackman at the University of Bristol is investigating how the Parkinson’s drug, Levodopa may improve sleep and memory in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

We know that in the diseases that cause dementia, like Alzheimer’s, changes in the brain occur many years before symptoms begin. Research has suggested that some of these early changes can cause sleep disruption and that disrupted sleep may, in turn, worsen Alzheimer’s disease.

Levodopa is a drug often prescribed to people with movement disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, that increases levels of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. It has also recently been shown to improve sleep and memory in healthy adults.

Dr Blackman will study the effects of the same drug in people at risk of or with mild Alzheimer’s disease to understand if it can improve both their sleep and in-turn their memory.

As part of his work, Dr Blackman will also study whether new technology, in the form of a headband, can measure sleep as effectively as more established tools. This will enable researchers to measure sleep disturbances in a less intrusive way.

This early study will provide researchers with early data that could lead to further, more extensive clinical trials.

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