Sleep loss could give you a brain full of Alzheimer's proteins

A new study has found a correlation between lack of sleep and increased brain levels of beta-amyloid — a protein associated with Alzheimer's.


NSFW    BETHESDA, MARYLAND — If you think your sleepless nights are harmless, a new study begs to disagree.

The study, published in PNAS, reports that Alzheimer's disease has been associated with a build-up of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, which manifests as plaques.

Since sleeping is believed to flush amyloids from the brain, lack of sleep has been correlated with a higher risk of the neurodegenerative disease.

In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, amyloid levels in the brains of 20 healthy subjects were measured after a full night's sleep.

When the subjects were deprived of sleep for more than 24 hours, scans revealed that the levels of beta-amyloid had increased significantly.

While the immediate effects of sleep loss are clear, the study failed to look at the implications over a long period of time.

But even without establishing causation between lack of sleep and dementia, it's clear sleep is crucial to a proper functioning brain.
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