Posted on Nov 12, 2013, 6 a.m.
Shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality may raise a person's levels of beta-amyloid, an Alzheimer's disease biomarker.
An irreversible and progressive brain disease that slowly debilitates memory and thinking, Alzheimer's is a disease for which there presently is no cure. Consequently, many researchers focus efforts on identifying biological markers to help in early screening and detection. Adam Spira, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland, USA), and colleagues completed a cross-sectional study of adults from the neuro-imagining sub-study of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, average age of 76 years. The researchers examined the association between self-reported sleep variables and beta-amyloid deposition. Study participants reported sleep that ranged from more than seven hours to no more than five hours. Reports of shorter sleep duration and lower sleep quality were both associated with greater beta-amyloid buildup. The lead author observes that: "To the degree that poor sleep promotes the development of Alzheimer's disease, treatments for poor sleep or efforts to maintain healthy sleep patterns may help prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer disease."
Spira AP, Gamaldo AA, An Y, Wu MN, Simonsick EM, Bilgel M, Zhou Y, Wong DF, Ferrucci L, Resnick SM. "Self-reported Sleep and [beta]-Amyloid Deposition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults." JAMA Neurol. 2013 Oct 21.