Sleep patterns 'could determine risk of Alzheimer's disease'

17 February 2012

The chances of people seeking a brain scan to determine if they have Alzheimer's disease could be reduced if they expand the amount of time they sleep each night.

Such a suggestion was highlighted as part of a study conducted by researchers at St Louis' University School of Medicine, which found a link between the amount of shut-eye and the development of the condition.

Medical News Today reported that the research involved recording the sleep patterns of 100 patients who originally did not show any signs of dementia.

Aged between 45 and 80 years old, half of the patients had a history of Alzheimer's in their family tree, while the other half did not.

Results of the study found that people who did not wake up frequently during the night were five times less likely to possess amyloid plaques - a tell-tale sign of the condition - than those who had a disrupted sleep pattern.

Yo-El Ju, one of the study's authors, commented: "Further research is needed to determine why this is happening and whether sleep changes may predict cognitive decline."

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona recently suggested that overeating at a young age could increase the risk of suffering Alzheimer's in later years.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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