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Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s’

TED talks sleep by Jeff Iliff

February 3rd, 2015 Raquel Rothe

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In Elderly, Less Sleep Linked to Aging Brain

July 11th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore’s rapidly aging society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Past research has examined the impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions in older adults. Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.

The Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study. Participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every 2 years. Additionally, their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” says Dr June Lo, lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow, in a release. “Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too,” adds Professor Michael Chee, senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study was published in the journal SLEEP

- See more at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/07/old-less-sleep-aging-brain/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SR+Sleep+Report+7%2F09&spMailingID=8979349&spUserID=MjQxMTIxNTA4MjUS1&spJobID=340679522&spReportId=MzQwNjc5NTIyS0#sthash.DcXOgPRa.dpuf

Sleep Loss Precedes Alzheimer’s Symptoms

April 2nd, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Sleep is disrupted in people who likely have early Alzheimer’s disease but do not yet have the memory loss or other cognitive problems characteristic of full-blown disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report March 11 in JAMA Neurology.

The finding confirms earlier observations by some of the same researchers. Those studies showed a link in mice between sleep loss and brain plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Early evidence tentatively suggests the connection may work in both directions: Alzheimer’s plaques disrupt sleep, and lack of sleep promotes Alzheimer’s plaques.

“This link may provide us with an easily detectable sign of Alzheimer’s pathology,” says senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of Washington University’s Department of Neurology. “As we start to treat people who have markers of early Alzheimer’s, changes in sleep in response to treatments may serve as an indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding.”

Sleep problems are common in people who have symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists recently have begun to suspect that they also may be an indicator of early disease. The new paper is among the first to connect early Alzheimer’s disease and sleep disruption in humans.

For the new study, researchers recruited 145 volunteers from the University’s Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. All of the volunteers were 45 to 75 years old and cognitively normal when they enrolled.

As a part of other research at the center, scientists already had analyzed samples of the volunteers’ spinal fluids for markers of Alzheimer’s disease. The samples showed that 32 participants had preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, meaning they were likely to have amyloid plaques present in their brains but were not yet cognitively impaired.

Participants kept daily sleep diaries for two weeks, noting the time they went to bed and got up, the number of naps taken on the previous day, and other sleep-related information.

The researchers tracked the participants’ activity levels using sensors worn on the wrist that detected the wearer’s movements.

“Most people don’t move when they’re asleep, and we developed a way to use the data we collected as a marker for whether a person was asleep or awake,” says first author Yo-El Ju, MD, assistant professor of neurology. “This let us assess sleep efficiency, which is a measure of how much time in bed is spent asleep.”

Participants who had preclinical Alzheimer’s disease had poorer sleep efficiency (80.4 percent) than people without markers of Alzheimer’s (83.7 percent). On average, those with preclinical disease were in bed as long as other participants, but they spent less time asleep. They also napped more often.

“When we looked specifically at the worst sleepers, those with a sleep efficiency lower than 75 percent, they were more than five times more likely to have preclinical Alzheimer’s disease than good sleepers,” Ju says.

Ju and her colleagues are following up with studies in younger participants who have sleep disorders.

“We think this may help us get a better feel for the way this connection flows — does sleep loss drive Alzheimer’s, does Alzheimer’s lead to sleep loss, or is it a combination?” Ju says. “That will help us determine whether we can change the course of disease with pharmaceuticals or other treatments.”

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This study was funded by an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar award and NIH grant P01NS074969 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Ju Y-E S, McLeland JS, Toedebusch CD, Xiong C, Fagan AM, Duntley SP, Morris JC, Holtzman DM. Sleep quality and preclinical Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurology, online March 11.  National Sleep Foundation