“Amyloid beta is a peptide of 36–43 amino acids that is processed from the amyloid precursor protein (APP). While best known as a component of amyloid plaques in association with Alzheimer's disease, as Aβ is the main component of certain deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, evidence has been found that Aβ is a highly multifunctional peptide with significant non-pathological activity.”Researchers observed self-reported sleep habits and β-Amyloid deposits of adults from the neuro-imaging sub-study of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging where the average participant age was 76 years. Subjects reported sleep that ranged from more than 7 hours to no more than 5 hours. Using the Pittsburgh compound B tracer and PET scans of the brain to determine the amount of β-Amyloid in the brain, researchers noted that shorter sleep duration and lower sleep quality were both associated with greater amounts of β-Amyloid deposits.
Even though no causal link has been established, if sleep habits do in fact have such an impact, researchers suggest that these findings could potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s simply by promoting and maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Furthermore, as this is not the first study to link sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, more research with objective sleep measures could determine whether poor sleep actually contributes to or accelerates Alzheimer's disease.
“Results could have significant public health implications as Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, and approximately half of older adults have insomnia symptoms."
Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. It is most common in people over 65 years of age; however up to 5% of people develop early-onset in their 40s or 50s. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information as changes in the part of the brain associated with learning is often the first to be affected. Eventually these individuals will experience symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behaviour changes; more serious confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more severe memory loss and behaviour changes; followed by difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
Shorter Sleep Duration, Poorer Sleep Quality Linked to Alzheimer ’s Disease