Could Better Sleep Prevent Dementia?

Charles P. Vega, MD


April 25, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Charles Vega, and I am a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of California at Irvine. Welcome to Medscape Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

A new study finds that excessive daytime sleepiness may be a risk factor for Alzheimer disease.

The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging[1] analyzed 283 adults with a mean age of 77 years, without dementia. The participants completed surveys assessing baseline sleepiness. The results revealed that 22.3% of the participants had excessive daytime sleepiness, which was defined as a score of at least 10 on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Using PET scanning, researchers determined that baseline sleepiness was associated with beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer dementia. Sleep has been proposed to be important for clearance of this substance. This observation supports previous studies that suggest that poor sleep is a risk factor for dementia.

These findings further reinforce the importance of sleep hygiene. Healthcare professionals should encourage healthy sleep for a variety of health reasons, including a possible reduction in the risk for dementia.


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