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Poor sleep increases risk of Alzheimer's, research reveals

12 July 2017

Study author Dr David Holtzman said: "We showed that poor sleep is associated with higher levels of two Alzheimer's-associated proteins. I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease". She spoke to NBC News about her work. You probably didn't get enough deep sleep. Being a parent, having a stressful job, or dealing with personal matters can keep someone awake at night. This is a protein that has been associated with Alzheimer's disease. Fecteau is the program manager of the Maine Sleep Institute.

Still, since a lack of sleep has been tied to other health problems, this appears to be another good reason to get those zzz's at night.

Previous studies showed that one night... Holtzman, Washington University sleep medicine physician Yo-El Ju and colleagues recruited 17 volunteers, all healthy adults between ages 35 and 65, who had no sleep disorders. However there were no changes to levels of tau, another protein linked to Alzheimer's.

The authors say the findings suggest that repeated disruption of slow wave sleep, or poor quality sleep, could lead to a buildup of beta-amyloid and tau, increasing the risk of plaques and tangles forming in the brain and eventually increasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

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Each time the participants drifted into deep sleep, a beeping monitor would rouse them out of it and into lighter sleep. Participants were surveyed about sleep quality.

"Also, when we looked at their home sleep, the worse their sleep, the more their tau increased", Ju said.

The other half slept free of any interruption, and the next morning all participants underwent a spinal tap to analyse the amyloid beta and tau in their brain and spinal fluid. "While this contributes to a growing body of evidence which highlights the importance of good sleep, the study didn't test whether people went on to develop Alzheimer's, so we can't yet say whether better sleep could reduce risk of the disease", he said.

The results, published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, showed that those who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimer's disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems.

Poor sleep increases risk of Alzheimer's, research reveals