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Sleeping Less Than 6 Hours a Night In Midlife Raises Risk of Dementia 30%, Study Finds

Thursday April 22, 2021. 04:02 AM , from Slashdot
According to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, six hours or less of sleep a night between the ages of 50, 60 and 70 was associated with a '30% increased dementia risk,' independent of 'sociodemographic, behavioral, cardiometabolic, and mental health factors,' including depression. CNN reports: 'Sleep is important for normal brain function and is also thought to be important for clearing toxic proteins that build up in dementias from the brain,' said Tara Spires-Jones, who is deputy director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, in a statement. Spires-Jones was not involved in the study. 'What's the message for us all? Evidence of sleep disturbance can occur a long time before the onset of other clinical evidence of dementia,' said Tom Dening, who heads the Centre for Dementia at the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham in the UK, in a statement.

'However, this study cannot establish cause and effect,' said Denning, who was not involved in the study. 'Maybe it is simply a very early sign of the dementia that is to come, but it's also quite likely that poor sleep is not good for the brain and leaves it vulnerable to neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease.' Because the new study followed a large population over an extended period of time, it adds 'new information to the emerging picture' on the link between sleep deprivation and dementia, said Elizabeth Coulthard, an associate professor in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol in the UK, in a statement. 'This means that at least some of the people who went on to develop dementia probably did not already have it at the start of the study when their sleep was first assessed,' said Coulthard, who was not involved in the study. 'It strengthens the evidence that poor sleep in middle age could cause or worsen dementia in later life,' she said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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