If a person is unable to sleep properly, this might be a warning sign of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a new study claims. The findings of the study conducted in the US shows that people who have worse sleep qualities, more sleeping problems and daytime sleepiness, are indicating towards Alzheimer’s disease as compared to those who don’t face sleep problems. Amyloid is a protein that can fold and reshape itself into plaques and Tau is a protein which forms tangles. These plaques and tangles are detected in the brains of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
"Previous evidence has shown that sleep may influence the development or progression of Alzheimer's disease in various ways," said Barbara B. Bendlin, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
"For example, disrupted sleep or lack of sleep may lead to amyloid plaque buildup because the brain's clearance system kicks into action during sleep," Bendlin added.
For the study, published in the journal Neurology, the team recruited 101 people with an average age of 63 who had normal thinking and memory skills but who were considered at risk of developing Alzheimer's, either having a parent with the disease or being a carrier of a gene -- called apolipoprotein (APOE) -- that increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
However, not everyone with sleep problems had abnormalities in their spinal fluid. The study found no link between Alzheimer's and obstructive sleep apnoea, the researchers pointed out.
"It's still unclear if sleep may affect the development of the disease or if the disease affects the quality of sleep. More research is needed to further define the relationship between sleep and these biomarkers," Bendlin added.
The solid evidence is still lacking to confirm whether sleep problems affect the development of the disease or Alzheimer itself is causing the sleep disorders.
(With IANS Inputs)
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