Lewis Honors College Capstone Collection

Year of Publication



Arts and Sciences



Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biology

First Capstone/Thesis Advisor

Dr. Bruce O'Hara


Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that is can be defined by amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal death. AD patients have characteristically fragmented sleep, with frequent nighttime awakenings and daytime naps. Decreased clearance of Aβ from disrupted sleep may be a contributing factor in the progression of AD. This study investigated how sleep fragmentation effected the progression of AD in 3xTgAD mice. Results showed that sleep fragmented mice had significantly more Aβ build-up in the hippocampus and thus greater progression of AD when compared to control mice. Improving sleep may be one way to reduce the harmful impact of this disorder. The second goal of this project was to determine if sleep can be improved using slow rocking. One male and two female C57/BL6 mice were used as the model. One mouse was recorded at a time using a PiezoSleep cage (Signal Solutions LLC) on a MouseQuake (MQ) platform (Signal Solutions LLC). The protocol was four days total with one baseline, one experimental (rocking), and one recovery day. On the experimental day, the mouse was rocked for 12 hours, from lights on to lights off. Sleep data was analyzed to see if rocking using MQ platform altered total sleep time, sleep latency, and sleep bouts. Results did not show significant sleep enhancement while using the rocker. Limited conclusions can be made based on the small sample size, however if future investigations show that improving sleep improves the symptoms of AD, then slight rocking to improve sleep could be used as a therapeutic treatment method.

Included in

Biology Commons