STATES CHRONICLE – Poor sleep should be a worrying sign for older people, since it might mark that they are at a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s. A new study, published in the journal Neurology, discovered a clear connection between a poor quality of sleep and the development of this neurological disease.
Accounting for both sleep quality and other genetic factors
For the study, researchers questioned a number of 101 people experiencing no problems with their cognitive abilities, and with an average age of 63 years. They had to fill in a carefully designed questionnaire, inquiring about relevant issues related to sleep. However, this questionnaire was not the only way to assess their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Participants also had their spinal fluid analyzed, and researchers looked for specific signs which indicate a predilection for Alzheimer’s disease. These can be identified by the presence of certain tangles and plaques floating around in the spinal fluid. Then, they also considered other factors, such as age, a history of the disease in the family, or certain genes which increase the Alzheimer’s risk (ApoE).
Poor sleep increases the number of Alzheimer’s indicators
In the end, they came up with a few conclusions. Poor sleep, including sleeping problems or a bad quality resting, as well as daylight drowsiness and sleepiness are related to a higher percentage of Alzheimer’s indicators present in the spinal fluid.
Researchers are not sure why this happens, but they have a few theories. Previous studies discovered that, during sleep, our bodies clear of certain toxins, including beta amyloid, which forms those plaques which appear in the brain when someone is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, poor sleep interrupts these processes.
However, it’s not a rule that all people who experience poor sleep will automatically develop Alzheimer’s. They are, indeed, at a higher risk but, if you start looking at individual people instead of groups, not all of them have the same pattern.
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