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Volume 38, No. 2

Sleep and Dementia Link

Sleep could be the missing link in dementia

Mom was right. Getting a good night's sleep may prove even more important to long-term health than our parents advised.

Scientists already have documented connections between sleep loss and memory problems, which explains why many schools are starting classes later. But a growing body of research is exploring links among sleep deprivation, sleep disturbance and Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.

The number of Alzheimer's patients is expected to double by 2020, due primarily to the increased longevity of the baby boomer generation. More than 50 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, which can be debilitating, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Poor sleep is a common symptom of Alzheimer's patients, particularly those suffering moderate to severe forms of the cognitive disorder. Physicians treating Alzheimer's patients say they often awaken in the middle of the night and wander or remain awake at night and sleep during the day. Researchers still haven't established whether the poor sleep causes Alzheimer's or is only a symptom of the incurable disease.

But Dr. Erik Musiek, an assistant professor of neurology who practices at Washington University in St. Louis, said there has been a paradigm shift in understanding the relationship between sleep and the incurable disease, which affects 5.3 million Americans. Read the full article.


Originally published by the Chicago Tribune. Written by Mark Taylor.
Photo by Vic. Licensing agreement.

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to www.AmericanNutritionAssociation.org. Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠