Decline In Sleep Quality Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Factors
High levels of beta-amyloid protein and tau protein are risk
factors for Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has found an association between declining
sleep quality as people age and having higher levels of beta-amyloid protein
and tau protein.
Participants in the study included 95 people who took part in the
Berkeley Aging Cohort Study. All the participants had their brains scanned with
PET to detect beta-amyloid tangles and tau protein tangles. They also filled
out questionnaires that asked about sleep quality in their 40’s, 50’s, and
Participants that reported a decline in sleep quality in their
40’s and 50’s were found to have beta-amyloid protein tangles in their brains
later in life. Participants that reported a decline in sleep quality in their 50’s
and 60’s had more tau protein tangles in their brains later in life.
The researchers also found that participants with high levels of
tau protein in their brains were more likely to lack the synchronized brain
waves that are associated with good sleep. This synchronization of brain waves
occurs during deep or non-rapid eye movement sleep. This is the stage of sleep
during which the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and
strengthens the immune system.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California
Berkeley. It was published June 17, 2019 in The
Journal of Neuroscience.