A Possible Link Between Sleep Deprivation and Alzheimer’s

As we age, sleep disturbances become more common and frequent. However, in Alzheimer’s patients – the frequency and severity go up, according to an article on the Alzheimer’s Association website. The article states, “There is evidence that sleep changes are more coming in later stages of the disease… studies have also found them in early stages.”
The NIH (National Institute of Health) has found that there may be a possible link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s. According to an NIH article published in April 2018, a small study showed that, “losing just one night sleep led to an increase in beta-amyloid – a protein in the brain associated with impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.”
A study with about 20 participants each underwent brain scans to see the effects on the Beta-amyloid levels after a good night’s sleep versus going 31-hours without any sleep. The study revealed an increase in the Beta-amyloid levels, especially in the thalamus and hippocampus (areas of the brain vulnerable to early stages of Alzheimer’s disease).
Even though the study was small, the results caused a lot of excitement to continue with a larger audience and a more diverse population. Dr. George F. Kooh, director of NIAAA, quoted in the NIH article, saying “(this) provides new insight and has implications for better identifying the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.” While the NIH article continues to say more studies are needed, the link between sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s are thought to go both ways.
Alz.org related that even though this upcoming year (2019), Congress has approved a bill that included a $425 million increase to the NIH for its Alzheimer’s and dementia research. For every $100 the NIH spends of Alzheimer’s and dementia research, Medicare and Medicaid still spend $9,700 caring for people with Alzheimer’s/
If you would like to thank Congress directly for approving this bill and encourage them to continue funding the NIH Alzheimer’s research, link HERE set up by Alz.org.
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