Researchers Medical School of the University of Washington v St. Louis, United States, they found that elderly people who have less deep sleep needed to consolidate memories and wake up a refreshed, higher level protein in the brain. This protein is a sign of Alzheimer's disease with which it is linked brain damage and cognitive impairment.
The study, which was published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, points out that poor quality of sleep could be a warning signal for the deterioration of brain health.
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"It is interesting to see this inverse relationship between a slow wave of waves and several tau proteins in cognitively normal people, or with a very slight deterioration, which means that this reduction can be a marker for the transition between the normal and the poor. said Brendan Lucey, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington.
He added: "Measurement of how people can sleep is a non-invasive way to detect Alzheimer's disease, even before the first symptoms."
In order to better understand the connection between sleep and illness, 119 people aged 60 years or more studied. 80% were cognitively normal and the rest had very poor disability. With the portable EEG monitor, they were monitoring the sleep of participants in their homes within a week.
The researchers also measured the levels of amyloid and tau protein beta in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid, which dig the brain and spinal cord with various tests. After controlling factors such as gender, age and sleeping, The researchers found that the slowdown in the fall of the wave coincided with higher levels of tau in the brain.
According to the authors, if future research confirmed their findings, sleep monitoring would be an easy and affordable way to first discover Alzheimer's disease.
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Work group. T Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience of the Argentine Neurological Society, states that Alzheimer's disease must be "discovered and treated early and that patients with minimal cognitive impairment should be monitored."
Although this disease occurs with greater prevalence in adults over 65 years may be at the age of 40 years or earlier.
In addition, they ensure that the diagnosis of the likely Alzheimer's disease is "supported by the gradual deterioration of specific cognitive functions and by changing the activities of everyday life and changed behavior patterns", including sleep. Symptoms are associated with clinical features that are consistent with disease diagnosis depression and insomnia.