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17-Apr-13 9:00 AM  CST  

Poor Sleep Quality Could Mean Potential for Alzheimer’s Disease 

According to a recent study published online in JAMA Neurology poor sleep patterns and quality could potentially signal Alzheimer’s disease.  The study was conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Lewis Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. 


Research has been previously conducted on poor sleep habits and Alzheimer’s disease in the past, but the new study is one of a kind and the first to make connections between disturbed sleep patterns and beginning Alzheimer’s disease concerning human beings. 


Here are some specifics about the study:  The researchers studied individuals from the ages of 45 to 75.  Study volunteers showed no signs of Alzheimer’s at the beginning of the study.  Of these individuals 22.5% of people were considered to have preclinical Alzheimer’s which means that they show no signs of diminished mental impairment.  However, they did have beta-amyloid plaques shown through cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-beta 42 levels containing 500 pg/mL or reduced levels.  The results of the study showed that study participants with preclinical Alzheimer’s had diminished and poor quality of sleep.  They also napped more than other people in the study. 


David M. Holtzman, MD, senior study author and head of the department of neurology at Washington University recently commented on the study’s findings in an article published this month on the Pharmacy web site.  “This link may provide us with an easily detectable sign of Alzheimer’s pathology as we start to treat people who have markers of early Alzheimer’s, changes in sleep in response to treatments may serve as an indication of whether the new treatments are succeeding,” said Holtzman.   


Further studies by the researchers will be conducted on younger people who will hopefully give scientists a better idea of the correlation of sleep problems and Alzheimer’s and also potentially change the course of the disease with other treatments or pharmaceuticals. 


1.  Wick, Jeanette, W.  “Poor Sleep Patterns May Signal Alzheimer’s.”  Pharmacy  Web.  4 Apr 2013.       


2.  JAMA Press Release.  “Study Suggests Possible Marker of Alzheimer’s Disease Associated with Worse Sleep Quality.”  JAMA Network Media Relations.  Web. 11 Mar 2013.

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For additional information on this News article, please contact:

Jennifer S. O'Reilly

Source: NPTAnews

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