A person experiencing problems with their sleep may be showing early signs of Alzheimer's, if studies recently carried out on mice also apply to people, say researchers. Those who understand how Alzheimer's disease works will know that protein plaques known as amyloid beta will attach to the brain, affecting the mind. The study now published in the journal Science Translational Medicine claimed that when these plaques first develop, mice affected by them started to have disrupted sleep. Charity Alzheimer's Research UK claimed that if a link was proven between the two, doctors could use this as a useful tool to do more for those affected by the illness, which is still hard to detect in its early stages. Professor David Holtzman, one of the researchers on the project, said: "If sleep abnormalities begin this early in the course of human Alzheimer's disease, those changes could provide us with an easily detectable sign of it. "If these sleep problems exist, we don't yet know exactly what form they take, reduced sleep overall or trouble staying asleep or something else entirely."