Elderly individuals 'should make sure they get enough sleep'
Article date: 28 October 2013
New research has suggested that more elderly individuals should ensure they are getting enough sleep, as it has revealed that getting less kip could be linked to the build-up of plaques in the brain that are associated with the development of Alzheimer's.
The results, published by JAMA Neurology, suggested that β-Amyloid plaques - a telltale sign of the progressive condition - built up more in the brains of not only those who got less shut-eye, but also individuals who experienced poorer quality sleep.
That said, the authors were quick to point out that this does not mean that sleep disturbance by definition presupposes a greater build-up of the plaques. Furthermore, the association was only with a greater build-up of the deposits - and not of Alzheimer's directly.
"As evidence of this association accumulates, intervention trials will be needed to determine whether optimising sleep can prevent or slow Alzheimer's disease progression," the study concluded.
Another piece of research recently published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has provided yet more insight into the degenerative condition.
Researchers at the Buck Institute have found a link between ApoE4 - a cholesterol-carrying protein with which about a quarter of people are born - and SirT1, a so-called anti-ageing protein that is targeted by resveratrol and present in red wine.
The investigations revealed that the abnormalities that are linked to both ApoE4 and Alzheimer's can actually be prevented by boosting SirT1, opening the door for new screening and treatment programmes.
Up until this point, any biochemical connection between the two had been "something of a black box", according to lead researcher Dale Bredesen, the founding chief executive of the institute.
It is hoped that their work will help to pave the way for developing improved, safe Alzheimer's treatments for those who carry ApoE4.
The Alzheimer's Society estimates that there are currently around 650,000 people in England who are living with dementia - of which Alzheimer's is the most common cause (62 per cent of cases) - with the majority aged over 65. Interestingly, it affects slightly more women than men.