Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Elderly Lacking Sleep,
Trials needed to determine whether optimizing sleep
can prevent or slow Alzheimer’s
Oct. 21, 2013 - Getting less sleep and poor sleep
quality are associated with abnormal brain imaging findings that suggest
Alzheimer disease (AD) in senior citizens, according to a report
published by JAMA Neurology, a JAMA Network publication.
Deposits of β-Amyloid (Αβ) plaques are one of the
hallmarks of AD. Fluctuations in Αβ levels may be regulated by
sleep-wake patterns, the authors write in the study background.
Adam P. Spira, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues used data
from 70 adults (average age 76 years) in the Baltimore Longitudinal
Study of Aging to examine whether self-reported sleep factors were
associated with Αβ deposition, which was measured by imaging of the
Study participants reported sleep that ranged from
more than seven hours to no more than 5 hours. Reports of shorter sleep
duration and lower sleep quality were both associated with greater Αβ
The authors acknowledge their study design does not
allow them to determine whether sleep disturbance precedes Αβ
deposition, so they are unable to say that poor sleep causes AD.
“In summary, our findings in a sample of
community-dwelling older adults indicate that reports of shorter sleep
duration and poorer sleep quality are associated with a greater Αβ
burden. As evidence of this association accumulates, intervention trials
will be needed to determine whether optimizing sleep can prevent or slow
AD progression,” the study concludes.
This study was supported in part by the Intramural
Research Program, National Institute on Aging (NIA) and by other
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