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Poor sleep may point to onset of Alzheimers disease

Poor sleep may point to onset of Alzheimers disease

Research from earlier this year may have revealed another clue in Alzheimer's early start; it found that signs of brain plaque buildup can be seen in patients as early as 10 years before they begin to experience disease symptoms.

While some of these relationships were strong when looking at everyone as a group, not everyone with sleep problems has abnormalities in their spinal fluid.

People who sleep badly could be at a greater risk of Alzheimer's later in life, new research has suggested.

Amyloid plaques develop in parts of the brain that play a role in visual recognition and memory, causing symptoms of the disorder.

Scientists have come up with the most detailed images ever of the tau protein that aggregates in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease, leading to the death of brain cells.

We won't know the full ramifications of this discovery until scientists have a chance to follow up on the new findings presented here, but it's clear that this could be a major turning point in studying how to counter these harmful protein clumps, with Ghetti describing the result as one of the major discoveries of the last quarter century of Alzheimer's research.

A journal for the American Academy of Neurology published a study that is trying to figure out the connection between the quality of sleep and protein levels that are tied to dementia development.

Researchers found that those who had more sleep problems, including worse self-reported sleep quality and daytime sleepiness, had consistently lower levels of cerebrospinal fluid.

Professor Dr Barbara Bendlin, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: 'Previous evidence has shown that sleep may influence the development or progression of Alzheimer's disease in various ways. Dr. Bendlin explained that the study not only looked for amyloid but also biological markers in the participants' spinal fluid.

"The ability to picture what the lock looks like could help scientists design more precise drugs that act on the tau protein and stop damage to the brain". "In the deepest stage of sleep, the brain cleans itself out of plaque and other toxic materials that trigger Alzheimer's disease".

Fellow senior author Dr Michel Goedert, who also worked on the original research 30 years ago, said: "We have known for nearly three decades that the abnormal assembly of Tau protein into filaments is a defining characteristic of Alzheimer's disease".

She added that doctors should encourage adults to improve the quality of their sleep to reduce the number of Alzheimer's sufferers in the future. As the mice slept, their brains actually changed shape, expanding to allow them to better flush out these toxins that had built up during the day, The Huffington Post reported.

'It may be possible that early intervention for people at risk of Alzheimer's disease may prevent or delay the onset of the disease'.

For example, there was no association seen between people who had sleep apnea and markers for Alzheimer's in their spinal fluid.

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