Adequate Sleep Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease-related Memory Loss

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A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley has highlighted the significance of quality sleep in ageing individuals. The study reveals that deep sleep protects against memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Poor sleep and beta-amyloid accumulation linked to Alzheimer’s

According to Zsófia Zavecz, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, individuals with a certain level of brain pathology can still avoid cognitive symptoms and memory issues by adopting lifestyle factors that promote good sleep and reduce the impact of the condition.

Past studies have found a connection between poor sleep and the faster buildup of beta-amyloid protein, which is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, memory loss is a significant challenge for individuals with Alzheimer’s, as it can hinder their ability to carry out daily tasks due to damage to memory pathways. Cognitive reserve factors, such as education, physical activity, and social engagement, are known to help maintain brain function. However, the difficulty lies in the fact that these factors are not easily changeable in old age, making it challenging for patients to modify them later in life.

Sleep may play a significant role in memory function and could potentially explain why individuals with similar levels of amyloid pathology have different memory abilities. The idea is that if sleep is a crucial memory factor, it would be exciting because it can be altered or improved.

Individuals with high amyloid deposits perform better

In a study conducted with older healthy adults, researchers investigated the relationship between deep sleep, beta-amyloid deposits in the brain, and memory performance. The study included 62 participants who were monitored using an EEG machine to measure sleep waves and a PET scan to measure beta-amyloid deposits. After sleeping, the participants were tested on their ability to match names to faces based on memory.

The findings revealed that participants with high levels of amyloid deposits in their brains who experienced deep sleep performed better on the memory test than those with the same deposits but with poor sleep quality. Interestingly, deep sleep did not provide any additional memory support for participants without deposits.

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