Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Risk Of Alzheimer's
The study was conducted with people above the age of 63 as subjects, and focused on changing cerebral activity due to sleeping disorders.
Sleeping disorders inhibits the breakdown of Alzheimer causing protien
- Sleep improves the brain's capacity to clear toxins like beta amyloid
- The self-reported study diagnosed 101 subjects around age of 63
- Subjects were submitted to spinal tap to study their spinal fluid
Adding further to the previously conducted researches on the after-effects of a poor sleep on our physical and mental health, a new US based study has found that insomnia can possibly lead up to Alzheimer's disease as insufficient sleep disturbs the cerebral activity and pave way for diseases as deadly as Alzheimer's disease at later stage in life. However, according to researchers worldwide, this revelation holds certain loopholes and may not apply to everyone who has sleep issues or any other sleep related problems.
The self-reported study diagnosed 101 subjects, all cognitively normal and with an average age of 63. After quizzing them on their sleeping patterns and everyday activities, the subjects were submitted to a spinal tap in order to study their spinal fluids and spot out the presence of indicators of the plaques and tangles that are associated to Alzheimer's. Proving their hypothesis right, the observations showed that people with poor sleep and insomnia were prone to Alzheimer's disease.
"Participants in our study were willing to undergo a lumbar puncture to move research on Alzheimer's disease forward," said co-author Barbara Bendlin of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. " Analyzing allows us to look at markers related to Alzheimer's disease such as plaques and tangles, as well as markers of inflammation and nerve cell damage."
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While the reasons for this association between Insomnia and Alzheimer's is still not clear, yet another study on animals showed that during sleep the brain's capacity to clear toxins like beta amyloid, the protein which forms plaques in the brain causing Alzheimer's disease at later stage, improves. Poor sleep, therefore, disturbs this necessary cleansing process and increases the risk of Alzheimer's.
While this study has paved way for further research in the similar area, there are certain limitations and loopholes in it which doesn't make it a universally applicable discovery. One of the major limitations of the study was that the patients were self-reported and were not objectively examined. Moreover, the subjects who were examined for this had Alzheimer's in their genetic history and therefore were expected to succumb to it later in their lives even if they didn't have sleeping issues.
"If it turns out to be the case that an intervention which improves sleep also results in less amyloid being deposited in the brain, that would provide strong support for implementing interventions before people start to show cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease," said Barbara Bendlin.
Doesn't Apply To All
The study has indeed added to the growing body of research on Alzheimer's and Sleeping disorders. But owing to a couple of limitations based on the already decided constraints for the study, not all who are dealing with sleep related problems have risk for Alzheimer's in the later period.
"Not everyone with sleep problems is destined to develop Alzheimer's disease. We are looking at groups of people, and over the whole group we find association of poor sleep with the markers of Alzheimer's . But when you look at individuals, not everyone shows that pattern" said Barbara Bendlin.
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