Did you know that 1 in 10 older adults in the United States has Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. The psychological condition hampers your brain’s ability to think straight and do even the simplest of tasks.
The biggest effect of this ailment is how it damages memory. The progressive disease is irreversible. Though Alzheimer’s doesn’t itself land a person in the grave, the complications it creates can. The Alzheimer’s & Dementia journal published a new paper on Monday that says that excessive napping is an early sign of the disease. Let’s dive into this study below:
The Link Between Excessive Napping And Dementia
Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco and Berkeley collaborated with University of Sao Paulo scientists for this paper. They built upon previous studies which show that those who have Alzheimer’s experience sleep changes before memory decline.
A researcher who was part of the study, Lea Grinberg, said that Alzheimer’s patients tend to sleep during the day and experience fragmented sleep at night. However, if you are someone who has a habit or routine of taking morning naps then you don’t have any reason to worry.
Napping during the day is only an indicator of Alzheimer’s if it is a new change. While scientists found a link between excessive daytime napping and the psychological ailment, they couldn’t find whether napping was a symptom or a risk factor.
What Did The Researchers Find?
The team of scientists involved looked at the brain tissue of 13 deceased patients of Alzheimer’s who had donated their brain for the study. The samples were compared to those of people who didn’t have the disease. It was found that three areas of the brain that are responsible for keeping a person awake had been wiped clean of neurons. Moreover, tau inclusions were also found in these areas among patients who had the disease.
Tau is a protein that stabilizes a part of the neuron. In those who have Alzheimer’s, tau becomes abnormal and destabilizes neurons. This change occurs in some patients while in others it doesn’t happen. Moreover, while it affects some severely, it affects others only mildly. Two foundations have funded this research for its continuation.
Researchers aim to understand the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease further. They also will look into the changes in sleep that eventual patients experience before memory loss kicks in. This further stresses on the need to sleep well and on time.
A new research suggests that there is a link between sleep changes and memory loss. It says that changes in sleep patterns, that is excessive unhabitual napping in the daytime, are an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers of this report found that Alzheimer’s kills the entire network of neurons that keep one awake. The study will continue working on establishing a more concrete link between such sleep changes and Alzheimer’s disease.