Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Alzheimer’s, Poor Sleep Quality Linked in New Study
Although much of what causes and predicts Alzheimer’s disease is still a mystery, researchers who worked on a new study may have unlocked another bit of crucial information relating to what may precipitate the devastating disease.
The study looked at sleep patterns and likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and in the process, discovered a possible link between the illness and sleep quality. What researchers discovered is people who woke up five times an hour or more had higher concentrations of a certain plaque in the brain associated with eventual development of Alzheimer’s disease- known as amyloid plaque accumulations, the deposits are one of the characteristics of the condition.
One hundred adults classed as “mentally healthy,” between the ages of 45 and 80, were included in the study. Half of the subjects had a familial history of Alzheimer’s disease, and those with poorer quality of sleep were more likely to have amyloid plaque accumulations noted in diagnostics such as brain scans.
Dr. Yo-El Ju is one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor of neurology. Ju commented:
“We were initially looking at duration of sleep, but it seems the quality of sleep is more important to this association. We don’t know if early Alzheimer’s is causing poor sleep, or vice-versa… It’s possible that there’s some change in brain activity going on during sleep that allows soluble amyloid to decrease overnight, but we need to study this much more closely.”
The research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April, but has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.