Alzheimer's Disease Warning: You Are At Risk Of Alzheimer’s If You’re Often Sleepless, Researcher Says

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Health and Fitness

Just one sleepless night may eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease, new studies suggest. People suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders may be at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.


What Is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, it slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.


Poor sleep

In 2013, 6.8 million people in the U.S. had been diagnosed with dementia. Of these, 5 million had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. By 2050, the numbers are expected to double.

According to Published in the journal Brain, a neurologist at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and a co-author of the research, Yo-El Ju, said: "[The study] shows specifically that slow wave sleep, or deep sleep is important for lowering the levels of amyloid overnight. We think that not getting good sleep chronically over the years would increase the risk of the amyloid and tau clumping up and causing Alzheimer’s disease."


Increase in amyloid beta levels linked to Alzheimer's disease

To monitored levels of amyloid beta researchers prevent the mice from sleeping caused a 25% increase in amyloid beta levels.

Professor David Holtzman said: "The results suggest that we may need to prioritize treating sleep disorders not only for their many acute effects but also for potential long-term impacts on brain health.


The link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

Tara Spires-Jones, interim director of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems at the University of Edinburgh, said:

"It’s one of the first studies showing a biological link between sleep and generating the proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease in humans"

Kristine Yaffe, a psychiatry professor at UCSF said in a telephone interview:

"I would say that this another important study showing this link between sleep and subsequent diagnosis of dementia."

Another study found a night without sleep increased the beta-amyloid protein in part of the brain by five percent.

Dr. David Reynolds, the chief scientific officer at the charity at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "There is growing evidence of a link between disrupted sleep and Alzheimer's disease, but it is difficult to tease apart cause and effect to determine whether sleep problems might cause Alzheimer's brain changes or vice-versa.

'This very small study suggests that one night of sleep deprivation can raise levels of the hallmark Alzheimer's protein amyloid, strengthening suggestions that sleep is important for limiting the build-up of this protein in the brain."


Dr. Barbara Bendlin, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, said:

"Previous evidence has shown that sleep may influence the development or progression of Alzheimer's disease in various ways. For example, disrupted sleep or lack of sleep may lead to amyloid plaque build-up because the brain's clearance system kicks into action during sleep."


Fast facts on Alzheimer's disease: It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.


It becomes harder for people to remember recent events, to reason, and to recognize people they know.


Nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The number of Americans with the disease is expected to increase in the years ahead.

It’s estimated that AD may cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion by 2050.