Wednesday March 20, 2019

Sleep Disorder Linked with Brain Changes Found in Dementia

There is no cure for dementia so early intervention is the key

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Less than 6 hours of sleep linked to hardened arteries Pixabay

A sleep disorder that causes repeated shallow or paused breathing may be associated with changes in brain structure that are also seen in the early stages of dementia.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), common among elderly, is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, stopping breathing, and is known to reduce levels of oxygen in the blood. It has also been linked with heart diseases, strokes and cancer.

The new study suggested that the drop in oxygen may be linked to a shrinking of the brain’s temporal lobes and a corresponding decline in memory.

“Between 30 and 50 per cent of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable factors, such as depression, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. In recent years, researchers have recognized that various sleep disturbances are also risk factors for dementia,” said lead author, Sharon Naismith, from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“We wanted to look specifically at obstructive sleep apnoea and its effects on the brain and cognitive abilities,” Naismith added.

In the study, published in European Respiratory Journal, the researchers analysed data from nearly 100 participants aged between 51 and 88 years, who had visited doctors with concerns over their memory or mood but had no OSA diagnosis.

The results showed that patients who had low levels of oxygen in their blood while they were sleeping tended to have reduced thickness in the left and right temporal lobes of the brain — regions known to be important in memory and affected dementia.

Also Read: Mild Sleep problems May up Blood Pressure in Women

Further, the team found that this alteration in the brain was linked with participant’s poorer ability to learn new information.

“There is no cure for dementia so early intervention is the key. On the other hand, we do have an effective treatment for OSA. This research shows that diagnosing and treating OSA could be an opportunity to prevent cognitive decline before it’s too late,” Naismith added. (IANS)

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Distress May Spike up Risk of Dementia

For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average

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Extreme distress increases risk for dementia: Study. Pixabay

Men and women who are distressed in midlife could be at higher risk of developing dementia in their old age, suggests a new study.

The study showed that vital exhaustion, which can be perceived as an indicator of psychological distress, is a risk factor for future risk of dementia.

Psychological distress is potentially linked to the risk of dementia through neurological and cardiovascular mechanisms.

The findings, led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, revealed that for each additional symptom of vital exhaustion, the risk of dementia rose by two per cent.

While participants reporting five to nine symptoms had a 25 per cent higher risk of dementia than those with no symptoms, those reporting 10 to 17 symptoms had a 40 per cent higher risk of dementia compared with not having symptoms.

However, the researchers are yet not aware of "exactly how anticholinergics might cause dementia", the researchers said.
Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

Importantly, physiological stress response, including cardiovascular changes and excessive production of cortisol over a prolonged period, may also contribute to linking psychological distress with an increased risk of dementia, revealed the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Stress can have severe and harmful consequences not just for our brain health, but our health in general. Cardiovascular risk factors are well-known modifiable risk factors for dementia, and in some countries, a stagnation or even a decreasing incidence of dementia has been observed,” said Sabrina Islamoska, postdoctoral student from the varsity.

Also Read- CBSE to Issue Module to Deter Students From Cheating

For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average.

Psychological distress is an important risk factor that should receive more focus when considering prevention initiatives in relation to later dementia, the team said. (IANS)