Can poor sleep lead to Alzheimer's?

Can poor sleep lead to Alzheimer's?

Amyloid is a protein that can fold and form into plaques while tau is a protein that forms into tangles. However, not everyone with sleep problems had abnormalities in their spinal fluid.

A lack of adequate sleep increases an individual's risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to The New York Times. Without sufficient time to self-clean, brain toxins that may lead to Alzheimer's disease have time to build up. Such buildup can be harmful to the brain and cognition. Surprisingly, the researchers did not find increased levels of Alzheimer's markers when they looked specifically at people with obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that's a major disruptor of sleep and a risk factor for several other chronic diseases.

British researchers have succeeded in revealing the atomic structure of one of the abnormal filaments that lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study has said.

The study recruited 101 people with an average age of 63 who had normal thinking and memory skills but who were considered at risk of developing Alzheimer's. But one third of people with dementia have a disease other than Alzheimer's, so studying the shape of tau in other forms of dementia will be important to help discover drugs for those conditions.

"Not everyone with sleep problems is destined to develop Alzheimer's disease", said the senior author, Barbara B. Bendlin, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Researchers found that those who had more sleep problems, including worse self-reported sleep quality and daytime sleepiness, had consistently lower levels of cerebrospinal fluid. They also provided spinal fluid samples that were tested for biological markers of Alzheimers disease. Based on this, the researchers determined that poor sleep in humans could accelerate the effects of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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'Our findings demonstrate that the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer's disease is present in late midlife in the absence of cognitive impairment.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research at the charity Alzheimer's Society, said: "This study adds to previous evidence that poor quality sleep may be associated with signs of Alzheimer's".

'Sleep may be a modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer's disease during the earliest stages of the disease, before dementia symptoms appear'.

'It is estimated that delaying Alzheimer's disease onset by a mere five years would reduce Alzheimer's disease cases by 5.7 million and save $367 billion [£284 billion] in healthcare spending in the United States, ' she said.

It's always been known that people with Alzheimer's suffer sleep issues.

Finding out what causes Alzheimer's could be critical to stopping the disease as early as possible, before irreversible damage has been done.

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