Prolonged Sleep May Predict Future Risk of Dementia, Study Shows

Prolonged Sleep May Predict Future Risk of Dementia, Study Shows
Sleeping for more than nine hours each night may predict the risk of developing dementia, and people who sleep a lot tend to have smaller brains. Those are among the findings in a new study, “Prolonged sleep duration as a marker of early neurodegeneration predicting incident dementia," that appeared recently in the journal Neurology. Evidence from past studies have hinted at associations between both long and short sleep duration and an increased risk of dementia. However, it remains unclear if sleep duration is a risk factor or a marker for dementia. Sleep may provide a restorative function, removing metabolic waste from the brain and preventing accumulation of the amyloid protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD). On the other hand, sleep disorders may also emerge as a result of atrophy of brain regions involved in sleep and wakefulness, or as a consequence of mood disturbances, which are common in dementia. To evaluate the association between sleep duration and the risk of incident dementia and brain aging, Sudha Seshadri, MD, neurology professor at Boston University School of Medicine and his colleagues evaluated sleep duration in 2,457 adults taking part in the Framingham Heart Study. Participants told researchers how long they typically slept each night. The researchers then observed them for 10 years to see who developed Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Over the 10-year period, 234 patients developed all-cause dementia. Researchers th
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