A BAD night’s sleep can speed up the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a study from the US has found.
Earlier this month Wheaton College science majors Amanda Shim and Megan Hogan and there instructor Dr O Michael Bubu presented a paper at an international college in London which showed the link between disturbed sleep and Alzheimer’s.
Under Dr Bubu’s direction, the pair trawled through vast databases of brain scans, cognitive assessments, biomarkers and demographic information from Alzheimer’s patients, people with mild cognitive impairment and control groups.
They found that people who suffered from sleep apnea had higher levels of a protein called amyloid accumulated between nerve cells, which was speeding up cell death and tissue loss.
“Our research found that obstructive sleep apnea can possibly accelerate or worsen the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr Bubu said.
“These results highlight the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep disordered breathing, especially in people at risk for dementia and people with mild cognitive impairment.”
“When we’re talking about a disease that has no cure, research about prevention and slowing the progression are important sources of hope,” says Hogan.