Impaired sleep associated with higher rate of plaque accumulation
October 28, 2020
A recent study from the University of California, Berkeley provided further evidence that impaired sleep is associated with a higher rate of beta-amyloid plaque accumulation (these plaques are thought to mark the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease).
The findings show that participants who started out experiencing more fragmented sleep and less non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) slow-wave sleep, were most likely to show an increase in beta-amyloid over the course of the study.
While the study was only conducted with 32 healthy older adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, the pattern of the build-up of these plaques correlated with sleep quality – allowing the researchers to effectively forecast a time frame for when Alzheimer’s disease might develop.
Author Matthew Walker said “The silver lining here is that there’s something we can do about it. The brain washes itself during deep sleep, and so there may be the chance to turn back the clock by getting more sleep earlier in life.”
Lead author, Joseph Winer also commented that “If deep, restorative sleep can slow down [Alzheimer’s], we should be making it a major priority”.
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