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New triggers for Alzheimer’s found

Two stories from America show that research into Alzheimer’s is progressing fast across a number of levels……..

New thinking to stop Alzheimer’s

Good news from researchers at America’s prestigious Duke University. They have discovered some immune cells which start attacking nutrients in the brain may be a major trigger for dementia.

These special immune cells called microglia are normally the first line of defence against infection in the brain. Now it seems some microglia change and start breaking down a component of protein. In research on mice, the studies indicated that by blocking this component of protein from being broken down, the mice were protected from Alzheimer’s.

It is early days of course but Dr Matthew Kan, one of the researchers, said that they see the study as opening doors to new thinking about Alzheimer’s.

The link between early sleep disturbance and Alzheimer’s

In the meantime more research from America indicates a link between sleep disturbance and the development of Alzheimer’s.

As we age, getting a good night’s sleep can become more difficult – snoring and waking up with a start sometimes in the middle of the night become much more commonplace.

As if a disturbed night is not bad enough, now American scientists have said there is a clear link about these sleep disturbances and memory loss, thinking decline and the development of Alzheimer’s in older age.

A report just published by the American Academy of Neurology reports on research undertaken by nearly 2,500 people. The researchers gathered information on the incidence of sleep apnea, a breathing disorder marked by interrupted breathing and snoring, and the incidence of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The results showed that people with disordered breathing during sleep showed thinking deterioration on an average of about 10 years earlier than people without the sleep disorder.
For people in the study who had their sleep disorder treated early, then it was found that the appearance of cognitive impairment was delayed to the same average as those who suffered no sleep disorder at all.

The studies were lead by Dr Ricardo Osorio, a research professor of psychiatry at New York University, and he said that at his stage the study does not necessarily prove cause and effect.

“But we need to increase the awareness that sleep disorders can increase the risk for cognitive impairment and possibly for Alzheimer’s,” he said.

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