You don't snooze, you lose.
If a person is unable to sleep properly, this might be a warning sign of developing Alzheimer's disease, a new study claims.
"This study and others in the field suggest that sleep may be a modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer's disease", said senior researcher Barbara Bendlin.
"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. But they were considered at risk for Alzheimer's either because they had a parent with the disease or they carried a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer's called apolipoprotein E, or APOE. But either way, they say that chronic sleep problems may be a sign that someone is at higher-than-average risk for developing dementia later in life.
Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA found that people who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimers disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems.
It's possible that Alzheimer's disease, in its very early stages, actually causes sleep problems-even before other symptoms are noticeable.
Research has shown that one-third of Americans don't get enough sleep while 45% of the global population also has trouble sleeping. Future studies could include following subjects' sleep patterns in a controlled, lab setting.
It is a verified fact that Alzheimer patients have issues with sleep. Amyloid and Tau are types of proteins that are found in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
One thing that could have thrown the findings off is that the participants reported their own sleep problems.
"Our study looked not only for amyloid but for other biological markers in the spinal fluid as well".
He added: "It is important to remember that it was a small study that relied on people reporting their own sleep quality, which is not the most accurate measurement".
Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association, agreed: "This new study suggests there may be an opportunity to improve cognition and possibly reduce dementia risk through early diagnosis and effective treatment of sleep disorders".