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September 07, 2018

Excessive sleepiness during the day could be a warning sign of Alzheimer's

A new study examined people who say they regularly doze off during the day

Adult Health Prevention
Sleep Stock Photo Pixabay/Pexels


If you find yourself nodding off at work each afternoon, you might want to try getting a good night’s sleep now and then.

Adults who report regularly feeling sleepy during the day are nearly three times more likely to develop protein deposits that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, a new study found.

The study, published this week in the Sleep Research Society’s monthly peer-reviewed journal, examined 124 participants in a decades-long neuro imaging study. The participants provided responses to surveys about their levels of sleepiness during the day, and also participated in brain scans to examine their levels of beta-amyloid deposits.

Beta-amyloid is a protein often found in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and excessive daytime sleepiness has been frequently linked to Alzheimer’s disease, the study said.

The data from those 124 participants revealed that those who answered “yes” to experiencing frequent daytime sleepiness were 2.75 times more likely to have increased beta-amyloid deposits than those who answered “no.”

In the study’s discussion section, the authors admitted the relationship between the proteins and excessive daytime sleepiness — do the proteins cause people’s sleepiness, or does a lack of sleep lead to protein build-up? — is still unknown.

Ultimately, though, the authors who wrote the findings are clear in one sense: Screening for excessive sleepiness could help identify those at elevated risk for Alzheimer’s, and possibly even intervene to ward off the disease.

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