One night of bad sleep increases Alzheimer's risk

by Abel Hampton July 12, 2017, 0:11
One night of bad sleep increases Alzheimer's risk

A new study shows there could be a link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's Disease. She spoke to NBC News about her work.

"Getting a good night's sleep is important for a range of different health reasons". Being a parent, having a stressful job, or dealing with personal matters can keep someone awake at night. "I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease". Fecteau is the program manager of the Maine Sleep Institute. Both involved an overnight sleep study while wearing headphones, followed by a spinal tap in the morning to draw cerebrospinal fluid for analysis. They had no prior sleep problems and were given an activity monitor for their wrists to wear for two weeks to measure their sleep. This is thought to be because amyloid levels change more quickly than tau levels.

Those with obstructive sleep apnea, however, did not show increased levels of Alzheimer's markers in their spinal fluid.

Now, recent research is linking sleep problems with the brain disease that robs folks of their memory and thinking abilities. They found a 10 percent increase in the former after the single night of disrupted sleep, and an increase in the latter for those who had slept poorly for more days at home.

“We dont know what the chicken or egg cause is here, it may very well be that sleeping longer will help us to prevent us from developing or slow down the process of Alzheimers disease but we certainly dont have the definitive answer as yet, ” said Dr. Rao. On one night, when they drifted into deep (known as slow-wave) sleep, the headphones played a tone at increasing volume until they reverted to lighter sleep. In a commentary published alongside the Neurology study, two doctors - Adam Spira of Johns Hopkins University and Yo-El Ju of Washington University - emphasized the potential benefits of facilitating better sleep.

People with Alzheimer's generally have observable tangles of tau proteins, inflammation in the brain, damaged brain cells, and higher concentrations of beta-amyloid proteins, which make up a plaque associated with the disease.

Now researchers say that poor sleep quality, and disruption of the deep, restful sleep known as slow-wave sleep, both play a key role.

A month later, they all returned to the lab - except this time other half of the participants had their sleep disrupted, and the first half were allowed to sleep interruption-free. That caused levels of proteins called amyloid to rise in their spinal fluid.


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