An observational study suggests that self-reported daytime sleepiness in older adults without dementia is associated with the accumulation of a brain protein – called protein β-amyloid (Αβ) – that’s an important biomarker for Alzheimer disease.
The buildup of this protein commonly manifests in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This study, which was published in JAMA Neurology, involved 283 participants over age 70 from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Participants, who did not have dementia, completed sleep assessment surveys at the start of the study and had at least two brain imaging scans in consecutive years between 2009 and 2016.
According to the researchers, 63 participants (22.3 percent) reported excessive daytime sleepiness, which was associated with increased Αβ accumulation in regions of the brain related to Alzheimer’s disease. Limitations of this study include a lack of objective measures of daytime sleepiness and the inability to account for other factors that could explain the study results.