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Treatment and Care for Sleep Disorders
Can Sleep Problems Increase Your Chance to Develop Alzheimer

New research suggests poor sleep may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, by spurring a brain-clogging gunk that in turn further interrupts shut-eye. Many sleep problems can be treatable - and a key next question is whether improving sleep can make a difference in protecting our brains.

Sleep is important for good health generally - seven to eight hours a night are should be the norm for most. We have known for sometime that sleep problems actually interact with some of the disease processes involved in Alzheimer's, and that those toxic proteins in turn affect the deep sleep that are so important for memory formation.

The more amyloid in a particular brain region, the less deep sleep we got - and the more we forgot overnight. Our memories aren't transferred properly from the brain's short-term memory bank into longer-term storage.

Sleep apnea - brief interruptions of breathing that repeatedly awaken people without them realizing -has shown a a near two-fold increase in patient at risk. Dr. Shahzeidi recommend that people at risk of Alzheimer's be screened for sleep disorders, especially apnea, which has effective treatment.

Shahriar Shahzeidi, M.D. FAAP, FCCP, FAASM
Medical Director
Fellow of the College of Chest Physicians
Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
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Related Links
• National Sleep Foundation - Website
• American Academy of Sleep Medicine - Website
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