Sleep Disturbance Is Linked To Amyloid In Alzheimer’s Affected Brian Areas

By on December 9, 2014

According to a new study, higher levels of amyloid deposition were found in brain areas, which are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in healthy, elderly participants of the research who reported sleeping for more time, and rested less.

This research was done by Ruth Benca and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Report of this research was presented at the annual meeting of American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Phoenix (Arizona).

When amyloid accumulation is caused due to sleep disturbance, then it may an early target for intervention in prevention of cognitive deficits progression in late life.

Sleep Disturbance - Amyloid LevelsThere are number of studies that show the importance of sleep in our life and also about the affect of sleep deprivation on brain. Sleep apnea is very well connected to cognitive dysfunction throughout our life.

Increased cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s patients is associated with both untreated sleep apnea and sleep disturbances.

Through the evaluation of physical changes in brain, and how these changes are related to quality of sleep helps in determining the extent to which sleep can provide a window on functioning and pathology of brain.

A group of 98 cognitively healthy people, who are in the age group of 50 to 73, volunteered this research. Ruth Benca and her colleagues of this research studied the relationship between quality of sleep and amyloid levels in brain in these volunteers by visualizing the deposits of amyloid with the help of PET (positron emission tomography) scanning tracer.

Amyloid is a protein, levels of which are generally elevated in the brains of patients of Alzheimer’s disease. These volunteers were asked questionnaires about their sleep and problems related to it.

Among these volunteers who reported to be sleepy showed elevated levels of amyloid accumulation in cerebral cortex areas that are heavily affected in Alzheimer’s disease – the supramarginal and frontal medial orbital areas.

Higher levels of amyloid accumulation in these regions of brain are related to less restful sleep and more sleep problems.

Dr. Benca said that even though, it is tantalizing to speculate the relationship between sleep disturbances and brain amyloid accumulation, which may help in identifying an early, modifiable marker for Alzheimer’s disease. But, it is too soon to come to a conclusion on it.

Dr. Benca also said that it is still to determine whether brain amyloid accumulation is promoted by sleep disturbance or disordered sleep is produced due to a neurodegenerative process.

There is need to further study to answer this question and also to determine whether sleep improving interventions could prevent changes in brain that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.