Doctors have warned that the lack of deep sleep and rest in the elderly may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease before the onset of symptoms of loss and memory impairment.
Neuroscientists in the United States found that volunteers who had a little sleep and rest had higher levels of toxic tau, an abnormal protein molecule found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Previous research has found a link between sleep and Alzheimer's, but deep sleep is thought to be of great importance because it is precisely when the brain integrates memories.
"The idea is not in the total hours of sleep associated with Tau, but in a deep dream that reflects the quality of sleep, people who suffer from Tau increase sleep less at night and spend more time, Dr. Brendan Lucy of the University Sleep Medicine Center. Day, and then they do not get a good sleep. "
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The study, published in the journal Neurology, includes 119 people, 80% of whom do not show signs of cognitive decline.
Brain activity of the volunteers was observed during their sleep, and the levels of TAO and beta-amyloid were measured by scanning the brain.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia affecting 50 million people worldwide.
Although there is no cure for stopping or delaying dementia, the ability to detect it before the symptoms will be a vital step in identifying people for testing future medications.
"We know there is a link between sleep and dementia, but there is still something to learn about this relationship," says Dr. James Piquet, head of research at the Alzheimer's Association. "It is premature to say that attempts to change our sleeping habits can affect our chances of dementia but there is increasing evidence that healthy eating and physical activity can also reduce the risk, so take an apple instead of a spoon bag and go as far as possible. "