Alpar Lazar is Senior Lecturer in Dementia and Complexity in Later Life in the School of Health Sciences at UEA. His research is in the role of sleep in brain health and in dementia. He studies sleep patterns as a particular ‘biomarker’ of brain disorders and addressing sleep as a therapy for slowing down brain disease.
Following his PhD studies at Semmelweis University Budapest where he investigated the sleep physiological correlates of Asperger syndrome, Alpar joined the Surrey Sleep Research Centre in the UK where he studied the genetics of sleep-wake regulation and chronotype. His work has contributed to a better understanding of the impact of sleep-wake homeostasis and circadian rhythmicity on brain activity and cognition.
As he gradually became more interested in pathological ageing Alpar joined the University of Cambridge where he investigated the role of early sleep disturbances in Huntington’s disease (HD), an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder and showed for the first time that sleep is one of the earliest homeostatic processes to go wrong in HD specific neurodegeneration. Alpar has a Wellcome Trust seed award to establish his own group and to study the impact of genetic risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease on sleep-wake regulation and cognition.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Semmelweis University: Ph.D., Psychology 2010
University of Medicine and Pharmacy ‘Iuliu Hatieganu’: M.Sc., Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience 2003
Babes-Bolyai University: B.Sc., Psychology 2001
Media Appearances (5)
Does insomnia raise your risk of Alzheimer's? Scientists have feared for years that lack of sleep can be linked to dementia, now a ground-breaking experiment could uncover the truth
Daily Mail online
The prediction, according to Dr Alpar Lazar from the University’s School of Health Sciences, is that those at the highest genetic risk of dementia will do significantly worse in the tests than others when sleep-deprived.
Introducing the launch of the sleep disturbances and dementia research unit
Health Europa online
“A symptom of Alzheimer’s is poor sleep. Good sleep is central to maintaining cognitive performance – such as attention and memory as well as general brain health. “Sleep deficits have been shown to be early markers in certain brain disorders. “But is it Alzheimer’s causing sleep problems, or do sleep problems modulate or contribute to the disease process?
Innovative dedicated unit will look into link between sleep and dementia - and you could help find the answer
Eastern Daily Press online
Lead researcher Dr Alpar Lazar, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said: “We live in an ageing society, and sleep disturbances and dementia are two significant health problems in older adults.
Alzheimer's: University of East Anglia to explore sleep link to brain disease
BBC News online
Lead researcher Dr Alpar Lazar, from UEA's School of Health Sciences, said: "We live in an ageing society, and sleep disturbances and dementia are two significant health problems in older adults.
Want to lead a long and healthy life? Sleep more: Doctors insist slumber is the best anti-ageing weapon
Daily Mail online
Sleep resets connections in the brain that are important for memory — eliminating weak connections between the brain cells and maintaining the strongest ones, adds Dr Alpar Lazar, a lecturer in dementia at the University of East Anglia.
Self‐reported sleep quality is more closely associated with mental and physical health than chronotype and sleep duration in young adults: A multi‐instrument analysisJournal of Sleep Research
2020 Sleep and circadian rhythms are considered to be important determinants of mental and physical health. Epidemiological studies have established the contribution of self‐reported sleep duration, sleep quality and chronotype to health outcomes. Mental health and sleep problems are more common in women and men are more likely to be evening types.
Multidisciplinary rehabilitation reduces hypothalamic grey matter volume loss in individuals with preclinical Huntington's disease: A nine-month pilot studyJournal of the Neurological Sciences
2020 Hypothalamic pathology is a well-documented feature of Huntington's disease (HD) and is believed to contribute to circadian rhythm and habitual sleep disturbances. Currently, no therapies exist to combat hypothalamic changes, nor circadian rhythm and habitual sleep disturbances in HD.
Infraslow oscillations in human sleep spindle activityJournal of Neuroscience Methods
2019 It has previously been reported that EEG sigma (10–15 Hz) activity during sleep exhibits infraslow oscillations (ISO) with a period of 50 s. However, a detailed analysis of the ISO of individually identified sleep spindles is not available.
Investigating the relationships between hypothalamic volume and measures of circadian rhythm and habitual sleep in premanifest Huntington's diseaseNeurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
2019 Pathological changes within the hypothalamus have been proposed to mediate circadian rhythm and habitual sleep disturbances in individuals with Huntington’s disease (HD). However, investigations examining the relationships between hypothalamic volume and circadian rhythm and habitual sleep in individuals with HD are sparse.
Eveningness is associated with poor sleep quality and negative affect in obsessive–compulsive disorderJournal of Behavioral Addictions
2018 Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that severely encumber daily functioning. OCD patients seem to exhibit sleep disturbances, especially delayed bedtimes that reflect disrupted circadian rhythmicity.