Dementia describes clusters of symptoms associated with brain decline but the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms develop gradually over many years and eventually become more severe. Memory loss is often the first visible sign and as the condition progresses, this may be accompanied by more severe symptoms such as personality changes and hallucinations. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease so the focus has been on finding ways to reduce the risk.
She continued: “A recent large-scale review of risk factors for dementia within our control to change found there have not been enough studies in this area for sleep to be included on the list.
“Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing and more evidence on the complex topic of sleep is needed before we can make a judgement on its impact on dementia risk. We hope findings like this will act as a catalyst for further research.”
While the study did not attempt to unpick the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s, previous research has floated some convincing theories.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, a number of studies have shown that interrupted sleep may speed up the progression of Alzheimer’s in the brain.
Who carries a higher genetic risk of Alzheimer’s?
According to the Alzheimer’s Society (AS), in just over 600 families worldwide, studies reveal many close family members who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease across successive generations.
“This pattern of ‘familial clustering’ of Alzheimer’s disease suggests there is a mutation within a single gene that causes the disease,” explains the AS.
It adds: “In these cases, the mutation is being passed down in the DNA from parent to child, across several generations.”
If several of your family members have developed dementia over the generations, and particularly at a young age, you may want to seek genetic counselling for information and advice about your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease when you’re older, advises the NHS.
Published at Wed, 19 Aug 2020 20:00:00 +0000