We should all get more rest to avoid a chance of Alzheimer’s.
Evidence shows that a lack of sleep can leave the brain susceptible to Alzheimer’s, a disease with symptoms including memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem solving and/or language.
Earlier this month, scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland published research that further strengthens the link between low quality sleep and dementia or Alzheimer’s.
“Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.”
It’s thought that approximately 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia worldwide(1), and it’s estimated that 1-in-9 Americans over the age of 65 have the disease(2).
The research published earlier this month shows that changes in sleep habits may be “setting the stage” for dementia/Alzheimer’s. Scientists believe that our brain flushes out toxins, including those linked to Alzheimer’s, during deep sleep. In laboratory tests, increased toxins were found in the brains in animals that didn’t get enough sleep.
OHSU will now undertake research on a group of human participants to further clarify the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s. However, this will not be easy. The study on laboratory animals required looking at mice brains through a window created in the skull. The researchers now must find a way to safely recreate the experiment on humans using noninvasive methods.
One solution could involve using the world’s most powerful MRI machine to scan the brain during sleep, which might enable researchers to understand when the brain begins to flush toxins. Handily, the machine is located in the basement of OHSU. Scientists hope the ultra sensitive MRI machine will pick up a “change in signal” in the brain during sleep, which will help to prove their hypothesis. In young and healthy brains, the signal should be robust according to the researchers. In people likely to develop Alzheimer’s, the signal should be weaker.
Having secured funding from the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the scientists at OHSU hope to begin testing the brains of participants within a year. However, there is one problem! The team will need to find participants who are able to fall to sleep in the cramped, noisy machine!
If scientists find positive results from their research, it will strengthen the hypothesis that a lack of sleep can indeed contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists hope their work will help pave the way to new treatments to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.
For your clients:
Have your company’s or charity’s logo printed on one of our sleep-related promotional products. These items will ensure your client gets a good night’s rest. As you read above, we ALL could use some good rest to help us stay healthy and alert!
Wearable Imaging, Inc. is proud to support Alzheimer’s Orange County
(1) Alzheimer’s Disease International via Alzheimers.net
(2) Alzheimer’s Association via Alzheimers.net