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Are you one of those who has a habit of sleeping during the day? Well, you might want to stop doing that, because it looks like the habit is upping your chances of Alzheimer's disease! In an analysis of data collected from a long-term study of aging adults showed that those who felt very sleepy during the day were almost three times more likely get Alzheimer's than those who didn't.
The study found that those who slept during the day time had brain deposits of beta amyloid, a protein that causes Alzheimer's disease, years later. This study also revealed that poor quality sleep could encourage this form of dementia to develop, suggesting that getting adequate night time sleep could be a way to help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Study author Adam P. Spira said in the study, "Factors like diet, exercise and cognitive activity have been widely recognized as important potential targets for Alzheimer's disease prevention, but sleep hasn't quite risen to that status--although that may well be changing."
"If disturbed sleep contributes to Alzheimer's disease, we may be able to treat patients with sleep issues to avoid these negative outcomes," added Dr Spira.
The study used data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), a long-term study started by the NIA in 1958 that followed the health of thousands of volunteers as they age. As part of the study's periodic exams, volunteers filled a questionnaire between 1991 and 2000 that asked simple yes/no questions relating to their sleep pattern.
A subgroup of BLSA volunteers also began receiving neuroimaging assessments in 1994. Starting in 2005, some of these participants received positron emission tomography (PET) scans using Pittsburgh compound B (PiB), a radioactive compound that can help identify beta-amyloid plaques in neuronal tissue.
The researchers figured out that there were 123 volunteers who both answered the earlier questions and had a PET scan with PiB an average of nearly 16 years later. They then analysed the data to see if there was a correlation between participants who reported daytime sleepiness or napping and whether they scored positive for beta-amyloid deposition in their brains.
Published in the Journal of Sleep, the results showed that those who reported daytime sleepiness were about three times more likely to have beta-amyloid deposition than those who didn't report daytime fatigue. After adjusting demographic factors like age and sex, the risk was still 2.75 times higher in those with daytime sleepiness.
"There is no cure yet for Alzheimer's disease, so we have to do our best to prevent it. Prioritizing sleep may be one way to help prevent or perhaps slow this condition," concluded Dr Spira in the study.
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