Latest News » Study: Poor sleep may be linked to Alzheimer’s risk

Missing out on sleep may impair brain health.

Missing out on sleep may impair brain health.

Back in December, we recommended making sleep a priority for 2014. Getting enough shut-eye is invaluable for overall health, as it helps your system recover from the trials of the day. Though you may feel like your mind and body shut down at this time, there are actually a number of important processes at work that facilitate everything from cognitive function to weight management, and missing out on a single night of slumber can throw this complex operation out of whack. Now, researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia have discovered a link between consistent sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease currently affects one in eight older adults, and though researchers are feverishly investigating this ailment, there is currently no cure. Natural compounds including curcumin have been shown to potentially combat the brain plaque that is associated with Alzheimer's disease, but more must be done to understand and effectively treat the common form of dementia. Identifying environmental factors that could have an influence in its development and severity may be a step in the right direction – especially for the legions of Baby Boomers who are concerned about their brain health

According to the new study, individuals who experience chronic sleep disturbances may trigger an earlier onset of the memory impairment that characterizes Alzheimer's disease. The scientists used an animal model and found that mice who consistently got minimal sleep exhibited signs of memory loss. Their brains also contained greater amounts of tau protein tangles. This led the scientists to conclude that sleep disturbance could be an environmental risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. They noted, however, that this could be good news since sleep disorders are often easily treatable.

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