Sleep Issues Connected To Development Of Alzheimer's?

Sleep Issues Connected To Development Of Alzheimer's?

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. Whatever be the situation or the reason, lack of sleep can play havoc with your physical as well as mental health.

Poor sleep may lead to Alzheimer's, especially for those who carry the risk of the degenerative disease. They have found that those subjects who actually reported sleep issues were more likely to also show evidence of brain cell damage and inflammation even when other factors like depression and cardiovascular disease were taken into account.

This is because they had either a parent with the disease or being a carrier of a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease called apolipoprotein E (APOE).

It has been nearly three decades since scientists in the same lab identified tau as being a key player in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Tau is a protein that creates tangles in the brain, while amyloid folds and forms plaques. However, the researchers also stated that not all participants involved in the study had spinal fluid abnormalities.

"We're looking at groups of people, and over the whole group we find the association of poor sleep with the markers of Alzheimer's", said Bendlin.

"It's clear that tau is extremely important to the progression of Alzheimer's disease and certain forms of dementia".

"This study could take us into a new era of drug design", said James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society medical charity - although he noted it can take 10 to 15 years to develop new medicines from this early stage of discovery.

Analysing these very high-resolution images, the scientists provide a first detailed description of the distinct helical and straight tau filaments, which may help explain why they form aggregates in the brain.

"As well as improving our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's, knowing the precise structure of tau will help inform research into new treatments". Using an innovative imaging technique known as cryo-electron microscopy, which studies samples at very low temperatures, the scientists were able to obtain a detailed image of the molecular structure of tau filaments from the brain of a 74-year-old woman with a confirmed diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

'To delay or prevent dementia due to Alzheimer disease, it is critical to identify modifiable risk factors'.

In the meantime, Bendlin said further research is needed to solidify the risks of sleep deprivation in increasing the risks of Alzheimer's disease.

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 may require people to attend sleep laboratories so their bedtime habits can be monitored, according to the researchers.