Lack of sleep tied to plaques buildup in brain
In a new study published in JAMA Neurology, scientists concluded that reduced sleep and poor sleep quality may be linked to increased build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of older adults.While sleep and beta-amyloid plaques have been linked in the past, researchers wanted to look at the link between beta-amyloid deposits and sleep quality within “community-dwelling” older adults.
The research team analyzed data from 70 adults with a mean age of 76 years, taken from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. All participants were free of any form of dementia. The participants were required to self-report their sleep patterns, disclosing the average hours of sleep they had each night, how often they woke during the night, whether they had trouble falling asleep and whether they woke earlier than planned. Their beta-amyloid deposits in the brain were measured using various imaging techniques.
The participants reported sleep duration ranging from no more than five hours to more than seven hours each night. When comparing sleep duration with brain imaging, the researchers found that shorter overall nights' sleep duration and poor sleep quality were linked to increased beta-amyloid buildup. However, the researchers said that the number of times a person woke during the night was not linked to an increase in beta-amyloid buildup.
The researchers concluded that intervention trials are needed in order to determine whether longer sleep duration and better sleep quality may prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.