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Sleep Deprivation Associated with Development of Alzheimer’s Disease

Sleep deprivation associated with development of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study shows. Poor sleep can increase the level of a protein called beta-amyloid which can cause Alzheimer’s disease, a study warns.

This is the first study to show the link of the sleepless night with the increase in amyloid-beta levels in the areas of the human brain.


The researchers included 20 participants in the study with no history of brain disorders at the clinical testing center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. They measured their baseline levels of amyloid-beta brain deposits through positron emission tomography, or PET to monitor proteins in their brains.

The results showed that sleep deprivation was associated with a significant increase in levels of beta amyloid in the brain after just one sleep deprived night.

The researchers also found the increases of beta amyloid in the regions of the brain commonly involved in the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease, the right hippocampus, and thalamus. H0wever, the doctors are still not sure what initially causes these buildups.

When people don’t sleep their neuron continue to fire which causes to the production of beta amyloid in the brain, according to Dr. Andrew Varga, an assistant professor of sleep medicine with Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

The study which claims that Sleep deprivation associated with development of Alzheimer’s disease was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on April 9.

“Though several studies have suggested that amyloid beta builds up when we lack sleep, and previous evidence has shown sleep may give the brain a chance to clear out clumps of amyloid beta, unfortunately, none have been able to confirm that sleep deprivation can cause dementia,” says Doug Brown, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society.




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