Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 November 2015

Poor sleep 'linked to Alzheimer's'

Published 22/10/2013

Latest health news
Latest health news

Poor sleep may be linked to Alzheimer's disease in older adults, according to a new brain imaging study.

The findings follow earlier research indicating that one of the functions of sleep is to purge the brain of toxic proteins.

One such harmful protein is beta-amyloid (Abeta), which accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

The new study appears to reinforce the importance of sleep in staving off dementia.

US scientists who looked at data on 70 adults with an average age of 76 found that those who slept less, and who experienced low quality sleep, had higher levels of beta-amyloid.

Self-reported sleep duration in the participants ranged from five to seven hours a night.

The authors, led by Dr Adam Spira, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, wrote in the journal JAMA Neurology: "In summary, our findings in a sample of community-dwelling older adults indicate that reports of shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality are associated with a greater Αbeta burden.

"As evidence of this association accumulates, intervention trials will be needed to determine whether optimizing sleep can prevent or slow AD (Alzheimer's disease) progression."

The researchers pointed out that the study did not indicate whether sleep disturbance preceded beta-amyloid build-up. Nor were they able to assume that poor sleep causes Alzheimer's.

But other research published in the journal Science last week points to the importance of sleep in clearing toxic proteins such as beta-amyloid from the brain.

A system that flushes toxic waste out of the brain was found to be 10 times more active during sleep.

Scientists believe the brain has to take a break from mental processing while the clean-out is under way.

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph