Wednesday January 22, 2020

One Sleepless Night Could Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease: Research

Losing just one night's sleep linked to Alzheimer's disease

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Alzheimer's disease
Losing just one night of sleep fuels brain proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay

Losing just one night of sleep fuels brain proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, a new research warns.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, in their blood than when they had a full, uninterrupted night of rest.

Tau is a protein found in neurons that can form into tangles. These accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It can start to develop in the brain decades before symptoms of the disease appear.

Alzheimer's
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. Pixabay

Previous studies of older adults have suggested that sleep deprivation can increase the level of tau in the cerebral spinal fluid.

“Our exploratory study shows that even in young, healthy individuals, missing one night of sleep increases the level of tau in blood suggesting that over time, such sleep deprivation could possibly have detrimental effects,” said study author Jonathan Cedernaes, from Uppsala University in Sweden.

The study involved 15 healthy, normal-weight men with an average age of 22. They all reported regularly getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night.

There were two phases to the study. For each phase, the men were observed under a strict meal and activity schedule in a sleep clinic for two days and nights. Blood samples were taken in the evening and again in the morning.

For one phase, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep both nights.

Alzheimer's disease
Researchers also looked at four other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s but there were no changes in levels between a good night of sleep and one night of no sleep. Pixabay

For the other phase, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep the first night followed by a second night of sleep deprivation.

During sleep deprivation, lights were kept on while participants sat up in bed playing games, watching movies or talking.

Researchers found that the men had an average 17 per cent increase in tau levels in their blood after a night of sleep deprivation compared to an average two per cent increase in tau levels after a good night of sleep.

Researchers also looked at four other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s but there were no changes in levels between a good night of sleep and one night of no sleep.

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“It’s important to note that while higher levels of tau in the brain are not good, in the context of sleep loss we do not know what higher levels of tau in blood represent,” said Cedernaes.

According to the researchers, when neurons are active, production of tau in the brain is increased. Higher levels in the blood may reflect that these tau proteins are being cleared from the brain or they may reflect elevated tau levels in the brain. (IANS)

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Researchers Develop New Tool to Predict Depression Among Adolescents

New tool to predict risk of depression in adolescence

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Depression
Researchers have developed a predictive tool that can recognise adolescents who are at high or low risk of depression. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a predictive tool that can recognise adolescents who are at high or low risk of depression in young adulthood.

Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the study also evaluated the performance of the tool in samples of adolescents from New Zealand and the UK, demonstrating differences in its ability to predict depression across these countries and highlighting the need to consider local variations when developing predictive tools.

“In our study we tried to go beyond more traditional ways of identifying youths at high risk of depression and learn from other medical specialties that combine multiple variables to generate composite risk scores, such as the Framingham cardiovascular risk score,” said study lead author Christian Kieling from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Depression
Current methods for assessing the risk of depression are based on family history and subthreshold symptoms. Pixabay

“This is relatively new in the field of mental health,” Kieling added.

Predictive tools have already been developed for psychosis and many physical health conditions, but little has been done for depression, despite its prevalence.

Current methods for assessing the risk of depression are based on family history and subthreshold symptoms which do not reach the criteria for depression.

Based on existing research and clinical expertise the researchers identified 11 sociodemographic variables that could be combined into a single score to recognise those adolescents at risk of developing depression.

In addition to a strong association with mental illness the variables were chosen because they were also easy to collect and simple to evaluate.

Using data on these 11 variables from 2,192 Brazilian 15-year-old adolescents and mental health assessments of the same adolescents at 18 years old, the researchers developed the tool to assess the risk of development of a major depressive disorder.

The study compared the ability of this tool to predict depression in a sample of 1,144 British 12 year olds (no data was available at age of 15) from the E-Risk Study and 739 New Zealand 15 year olds from the Dunedin study.

Depression
Predictive tools have already been developed for psychosis and many physical health conditions, but little has been done for depression, despite its prevalence. Pixabay

The predictive ability of the score was not as strong in the UK and New Zealand samples.

According to researchers, this was to some extent expected as not all the information used from the Brazilian sample was available in the other datasets and different diagnostic measures were used to assess mental health at 18 years old.

‘The existence of these discrepancies does not discount the value of our tool but provides important insight into adapting the score according to where it will be used,” Kieling said.

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“Adaptation is necessary for most predictive tools; for instance, tools used to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease developed in the US require adjustments when used in other countries,” Kieling added. (IANS)