Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Poor Sleep Suggested in New Study

Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Poor Sleep Suggested in New Study
Lack of sleep on a regular basis or waking up several times during the night may be harmful to the brain and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to recent evidence. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease tend to sleep poorly and stay awake more often at night. However, researchers have been unsure if poor sleep plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s, or if it is an early symptom of the disease. Now, evidence from new studies further highlights the association between poor sleep and dementia. In the study, "Self-Reported Sleep and Beta-Amyloid Deposition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults," published in JAMA Neurology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers discovered that people with poor sleep patterns are more likely to exhibit an increase in brain levels of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that forms plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers examined 70 older adults with a mean age of 76. Participants were part of the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. The researchers used brain scans and found that those who said they got the least sleep -- fewer than five hours a night -- or who slept fitfully had higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain compared with those who slept more than seven hours a night. Researchers couldn’t determine if poor sleep led to acceleration in the accumulation of beta-amyloid, or if beta-amyloid accumulatio
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