Mathematical Moxy Improves Sleep-Wake Cycles

A convergence of academic disciplines can occasionally yield dividends in the most unexpected ways. In this case, mathematicians at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST), along with researchers at Florida State University, identified how aging and diseases like dementia and obesity cause sleep disorders.


Details about the unusual collaboration come via a newly publishing article titled “Wake-sleep cycles are severely disrupted by diseases affecting cytoplasmic homeostasis“.

KAIST authors report that a combination of mathematical modeling and experiments “demonstrated that the cytoplasmic congestion caused by aging, dementia, and/or obesity disrupts the circadian rhythms in the human body and leads to irregular sleep-wake cycles.” 

The details are a bit complex, with full results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In short, the the joint research team’s spatial stochastic model described the motion of PER molecules (the circadian clock is regulated by a protein called PERIOD) in cells and how it affects sleep-wake cycles. The findings suggest new treatment strategies for addressing unstable sleep-wake cycles.

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