Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trouble Sleeping? It May Affect Your Memory Later On

That’s the title of this article.  It has to do with the how many times you awaken during the night. “The amount and quality of sleep you get at night may affect your memory later in life, according to research that was released today and will be presented the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans…”  It affects your memory later in life. “Disrupted sleep appears to be associated with the build-up of amyloid plaques, a hallmark marker of Alzheimer’s disease, in the brains of people with memory problems… Further research is needed to determine why this is happening and whether sleep changes may predict cognitive decline.”  It is disrupted sleep that seems to be the problem.
My memory has never been a problem.  Especially numbers, although lately if I try to remember something I always forget one thing.  I remember it before it becomes a problem.  Although it is not too worrisome for me, I sleep and do not wake up that many times a night. It goes on to say: “Researches tested the sleep patterns of 100 people between the ages of 45 and 80 who were free of dementia.  Half of the group had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. A device was placed on the participants for two weeks to measure sleep.  Sleep diaries and questionnaires were also analyzed by researchers.”  It is good to note they had a family history of Alzheimer’s.
The article goes on to say: “After the study, it was discovered that 25 percent of the participants had evidence of amyloid plaques, which can appear years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin. The average time a person spent in bed during the study was about eight hours, but the average sleep time was 6.5 hours due to short awakening in the night.”  What is causing them to awaken during the night?  They do not answer that question.  I rely on my memory so that would be hard on me if I was ever to lose it.  I do make a list when I go to the store as I would forget something if I did not.
It must be different than just having insomnia. “The study found that people who woke up more than five times per hour were more likely to have amyloid plaque build-up compared to people who didn’t wake up as much. The study also found those people who slept ‘less efficiently’ were more likely to have the markers of early stage Alzheimer’s disease than those who slept more efficiently.  In other words, those who spent less than 85 percent of their time in bed actually sleeping were more likely to have the markers than those who spent more than 85 percent of their time in bed actually sleeping.”   Do they get less than 85 percent of sleep every night?
What are they going to do with this information? “The association between disrupted sleep and amyloid plaques is intriguing, but the information from this study can’t determine a cause-effect relationship or the direction of this relationship.  We need longer-term studies, following individual’s sleep over years, to determine whether disrupted sleep leads to amyloid plaques, or whether brain changes in early Alzheimer’s disease lead to changes in sleep, … Our study lays the groundwork for investigating whether manipulating sleep is possible strategy in the prevention or slowing of Alzheimer’s disease.”  Only my grandfather had dementia.  None of my other family members lived long enough to know if they would have any other diseases or stuff wrong with them.  I just have to stay exercising and do the right things and I am sure I will be alright.

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