Lack of sleep may lead to dementia - News Hunter Magazine

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Lack of sleep may lead to dementia

Washington: Scientists have found that people who don't sleep much or
are suffering from sleep apnea were possibly likelier to develop
dementia.

According to the new study, people who don't have as much oxygen in
their blood during sleep, which occurs with sleep apnea and conditions
such as emphysema, were more likely to have tiny abnormalities in
brain tissue, called micro infarcts, than people with higher levels of
oxygen in the blood. These abnormalities are associated with the
development of dementia.

In addition, people who spent less time in deep sleep, called slow
wave sleep, were more likely to have loss of brain cells than people
who spent more time in slow wave sleep. Slow wave sleep is important
in processing new memories and remembering facts. People tend to spend
less time in slow wave sleep as they age. Loss of brain cells is also
associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

For the study, 167 Japanese American men had sleep tests conducted in
their homes when they were an average age of 84. All were followed
until they died an average of six years later, and autopsies were
conducted on their brains to look for micro infarcts, loss of brain
cells, the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease and
Lewy bodies found in Lewy body dementia.

The participants were divided into 4 groups based on the percentage of
the night spent in slow wave sleep. Of the 37 men who spent the least
time in slow wave sleep, 17 had brain cell loss, compared to seven of
the 38 men who spent the most time in slow wave sleep.

The results remained the same after adjusting for factors such as
smoking and body mass index and after excluding participants who had
died early in the follow-up period and those who had low scores on
cognitive tests at the beginning of the study.

Study author Rebecca P. Gelber, MD, DrPH, said that the findings
suggested that low blood oxygen levels and reduced slow wave sleep may
contribute to the processes that lead to cognitive decline and
dementia. More research was needed to determine how slow wave sleep
may play a restorative role in brain function and whether preventing
low blood oxygen levels may reduce the risk of dementia.

The study is published in the online issue of Neurology.



Credit: ANI

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