A study led by Barbara Bendlin, PhD, associate professor, Geriatrics and Gerontology, concluded that poor sleep may be an indication of increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers studied 101 cognitively normal people between the ages of 57 and 69 who were recruited from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a group of volunteers who have a parental history of Alzheimer's disease.
Subjects completed well-validated sleep questionnaires, and researchers analyzed samples of their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for levels of Alzheimer's disease hallmarks, including biomarkers of amyloid metabolism and plaques and tau pathology and markers of inflammation and neuronal injury.
After controlling for age, family history of Alzheimer's disease and other risk factors, researchers found that poor sleep quality, sleep problems, and daytime sleepiness were associated with increased levels of Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in CSF samples.
“If it turns out to be the case that an intervention which improves sleep also results in less amyloid being deposited in the brain, that would provide strong support for implementing interventions before people start to show cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Bendlin.
- Sprecher KE, Koscik RL, Carlsson CM, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Okonkwo OC, Sager MA, Asthana S, Johnson SC, Benca RM, Bendlin BB. 2017. Poor sleep is associated with CSF biomarkers of amyloid pathology in cognitively normal adults. Neurology. 89(5):445-453.
- "Poor Sleep Linked to Multiple Brain Changes Associated with Alzheimer's Disease," UW School of Medicine and Public Health, July 5, 2017
- "Poor Sleep Tied to Increased Alzheimer’s Risk," New York Times, July 5, 2017
- "Poor Sleep May Be Tied To Higher Alzheimer’s Risk," American Medical Association Morning Rounds newsletter, July 6, 2017
- "Sleep Problems: An Early Warning Sign of Alzheimer's?," Health, July 5, 2017
- "Your Insomnia Could Actually Lead To Alzheimer’s, Study Says," Huffington Post, July 6, 2017