Daytime Sleepiness may be an Indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease

Daytime sleepiness may be an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers reported in a study. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota published a new study on Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology that shows daytime sleepiness causes harmful plaque building in their brain called amyloid. Depositing amyloid in brain tissue is the first sign of impending Alzheimer’s disease, the authors of the new study pointed out.

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James Hendrix, Ph.D., director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, said more research is required as it’s the first time these researchers have clearly pointed link between poor sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Hendrix says sleep is an important part of our health and poor sleep can cause cardiovascular and other health problems.

Author Prashanthi Vemuri, an associate professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, and the team looked nearly 300 people aged 70 and older without dementia. When the study began, they found around 22 percent people with excessive daytime sleepiness.

All people in the study completed two brain scans between 2009 and 2016. The team found increased accumulations of amyloid proteins in their key brain areas.

Vemuri concluded that consistent sleep can clear amyloid proteins from the brain and daytime sleepiness may be an indicator of Alzheimer’s.

“The fact that we can find these effects in people who are cognitively healthy and close to middle age suggest that these relationships appear early, perhaps providing a window of opportunity for intervention,” said study co-author Barbara Bendlin of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.