A newly released study found a link between the appearance of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and poor sleep, especially in people that already present a risk of developing this neurodegenerative disease.
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists, led by Dr. Barbara Bendlin, conducted this latest research. This involved 101 participants, the average age being that of 63 years old. These all either had cases of AD in their family history or presented a gene that has been linked to the disease.
Poor Sleep, A New Indicator or Risk Factor in AD?
The research team conducted spinal fluid tests on all of the participants. They also questioned the study group about their sleeping habits. Some of the patients reported having trouble sleeping, poor sleep, or daytime drowsiness.
According to the test results, these also had presented more biological markers for Alzheimer’s, when compared to the other participants.
Barbara Bendlin pointed out that this new study looked for more than just amyloid plaques. These are held as being among the first signs of the neurodegenerative condition. The lead author pointed out that this research also targeted other biological markers as well, ones that can be found by analyzing the spinal fluid.
“Previous evidence has shown that sleep may influence the development or progression of Alzheimer’s disease in various ways. For example, disrupted sleep or lack of sleep may lead to amyloid plaque buildup because the brain’s clearance system kicks into action during sleep,” stated Bendlin.
While analyzing the gathered data, the team looked for tau tangles, beta-amyloid, and also toxic brain protein clumps. These have already been associated and are held as a possible cause of Alzheimer’s.
Still, the team underlined the fact that not all of the participants presented spinal fluid abnormalities. Scientists also pointed out the importance of discovering and identifying more of the modifiable AD risk factors.
They also stated that it is yet unclear if the poor sleep was a result of the installation of the condition. Or if, in contrast, it was a possible cause for its appearance.
Study results have been released in an online issue of the journal Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal.
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