Studies: Better sleep may be important for Alzheimer's risk
WASHINGTON - New research suggests poor sleep may increase people's risk of Alzheimer's disease, by spurring a brain-clogging gunk that in turn further interrupts shut-eye.
Enough sleep is important for good health generally, but a series of studies presented Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference suggests another reason to get enough sleep.
In one study, healthy seniors with more of the sticky Alzheimer's-related amyloid protein got less deep sleep - and scored poorly on a memory challenge. Another study tracked thousands of seniors and found disrupted sleep - especially sleep apnea - increased the risk of cognitive decline. Mice studies illustrate the biology, as sleep deprivation spurred amyloid build-up, leading to more sleep trouble.
Sleep problems are treatable, so a next question is whether improving sleep will protect seniors' brains.