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Poor sleep can increase risk of Alzheimer's, says study

Poor sleep among older people suggests that it's an indication of increased risk for Alzheimer's

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Photo: iSTOCK
Photo: iSTOCK

Poor sleep may be an indication of increased risk for disease, a new study conducted with older people suggests.

Researchers studied 101 cognitively normal people, average age 63, who completed well-validated sleep questionnaires. They analyzed their spinal fluid for the presence of indicators of the plaques and tangles that are characteristic of The study is in
After controlling for age, a family history of Alzheimer’s, the that increases risk and other factors, they found that poor sleep quality, sleep problems and daytime sleepiness were associated with increased spinal fluid indicators of disease.

The reason for the association is unclear, but at least one animal study found that during sleep the brain’s capacity to clear toxins like beta amyloid, the toxic protein that forms plaques in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s, improves. It may be that poor sleep interferes with this process in people, too. 

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

“We’re looking at groups of people, and over the whole group we find the association of poor sleep with the markers of But when you look at individuals, not everyone shows that pattern.”

First Published: Sat, July 08 2017. 21:50 IST