Only one insomniac night increases levels of a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the blood of young people. The discovery indicates that establishing a good sleep habit at a very young age may support to ward off the illness.
People with Alzheimer’s have clumps of two sticky proteins, known as beta-amyloid and tau, found in their brains. An earlier study had discovered that one sleepless night grows the beta-amyloid levels in people’s brains, but the effects on tau are still unknown.
Jonathan Cedernaes from Uppsala University and his team required 15 healthy young men for a test at a sleep clinic. The people were with an average age of 22. They examined tau levels in the men’s blood after they performed a full night’s sleep. The following test was needed, too, after a sleepless night. Researchers discovered that after a no-sleep night, the participants displayed an average 17 % boost in tau levels in their blood.
One Inadequate Night Sleep May Boost Alzheimer’s Disease-related Protein
Also, after a full night’s sleep, it was identified only a 2 % growth. However, researchers aren’t sure about women. “We believe this at least provides an indication that even young individuals should take care of their sleep,” Cedernaes stated.
If tau does undoubtedly expand in the brains of young people after sleepless nights, clinical tests should examine whether optimizing sleep supports to reduce or limit this build-up, and in turn, decreases their danger of developing Alzheimer’s illness. Tau is also known for being associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob illness and Parkinson’s disease. In all the mentioned diseases, however, the role of tau is still unknown.
Similarly, while sleepless nights have been related to Alzheimer’s disease, this is probably an early warning of the illness, rather than a causative factor. According to the team of researchers, more tests are needed to determine final and full statements.