BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - New research shows a lack of good sleep could put you at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.
Sleep disturbances are common in Alzheimer's, but can the sleep problem come before the cognitive impairment?
The brain regions responsible for sleep and waking mechanisms are affected early in the disease. Under a microscope, the Alzheimer's brain has deposits of abnormal protein called "amyloid." The amyloid can be seen on PET scans and measured in the spinal fluid.
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis studied people with no cognitive impairment and found that those who spent more time lying awake or tossing and turning tended to have more amyloid deposits. That might mean they're more likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease.
If you have trouble sleeping, don't fear you're going to get Alzheimer's. Most sleep problems aren't related to Alzheimer's.
The study did point out what's called "inefficient sleep," or getting plenty of sleep but waking up and still feeling tired. Sleep is supposed to be restorative and refreshing. If it's not, that doesn't mean you'll get Alzheimer's, but it may mean you have a problem that can be treated.
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