Daytime napping an early sign of Alzheimer’s: research

Needing daytime naps could be a reason to keep you up at night.

Daytime napping an early sign of Alzheimer’s: research

If you find yourself wanting an afternoon nap more often than not, new research suggests that you may have early signs of Alzheimer’s.

The findings, published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, reveal that the parts of the brain that keep you awake during the day are some of the first to be damaged in the early stages of the disease, which is why people with Alzheimer’s may seek ‘nanna naps’ before they start forgetting things.

Damage to the brain regions involved in daytime wakefulness is caused by a protein called tau, which may play a larger role in Alzheimer’s than the more extensively studied amyloid protein, noted the researchers.

“Our work shows definitive evidence that the brain areas promoting wakefulness degenerate due to accumulation of tau – not amyloid protein – from the very earliest stages of the disease,” said study senior author Dr Lea Grinberg.

Previous research suggested that excessive napping was due to poor sleep caused by Alzheimer’s-related disruptions in parts of the brain that promote sleep, or that people with sleep problems were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

In this study, the researchers concluded that Alzheimer’s disease actually attacks brain regions responsible for daytime wakefulness and are among the first damaged by the disease.

In Alzheimer’s-affected brains, significant tau build-up was found in all three wakefulness-promoting centres examined by the researchers, and those regions had lost as many as 75 per cent of their neurons, reports WebMD.

“It’s remarkable because it’s not just a single brain nucleus that’s degenerating, but the whole wakefulness-promoting network. Crucially, this means that the brain has no way to compensate because all of these functionally related cell types are being destroyed at the same time,” explained study lead author Jun Oh.

“It seems that the wakefulness-promoting network is particularly vulnerable in Alzheimer’s disease,” Jun Oh said in a UCSF news release. “Understanding why this is the case is something we need to follow up in future research.”

The findings suggest that tau build-up plays a greater role in Alzheimer’s than the more widely studied amyloid protein. Research into amyloid has so far failed to result in effective Alzheimer’s treatments.

Dr Grinberg said that the “research adds to a growing body of work showing that tau burden is likely a direct driver of [mental] decline.”

Do you often take afternoon naps or find yourself tired during the day?

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    2nd Sep 2019
    I'm in trouble! Love my afternoon read which usually turns into a Nanna Nap. Oh dear.
    2nd Sep 2019
    im 86yrs, often have a nap when reading - no brain problem, get told off for remembering things, recent as well as past.
    2nd Sep 2019
    im 86yrs, often have a nap when reading - no brain problem, get told off for remembering things, recent as well as past.
    2nd Sep 2019
    i'm doomed then at only 60 - i need daytime sleeps. also they say migraine sufferers more likely to get dementia/alzheimers too - doomed again!!!!
    2nd Sep 2019
    My 96year Father and Mother had naps every day. They both enjoyed cooking, Dad still did a little bit of gardening, both parents were as bright as a button, I am so sick and tired of the negatives we are fed every day.
    2nd Sep 2019
    Hi Laura,
    I'm 90 y.o. and agree with your input to this subject. I often doze off in the afternoon watching TV; otherwise living alone I do all my household chores and I'm considered bright by those who know me.
    2nd Sep 2019
    Same, I sleep badly at night, so also when watching tv and doing nothing with my hands I nod off as well
    Proud Aussie
    2nd Sep 2019
    So true Laura. Why live with doom and gloom. Lets bring back brightness and share it around. Have a fantastic day one and all
    2nd Sep 2019
    Yes you too Proud Aussie, it’s a beautiful glorious day, and I thank God I’m alive. Enjoy your day everyone.
    2nd Sep 2019
    You too. Thanks Proud Aussie and Laura.
    2nd Sep 2019
    What a load of frogshit! Anybody who believes that deserves it.
    2nd Sep 2019
    I wish I could sleep in the day as I don't sleep well at night. The last time I slept in the day was 1 September 1981. How do you remember that I hear you ask. It was the day we came to Australia from the UK and I had been awake for 40 hours as I can't sleep on planes either. And never having been back to the UK I have never repeated that daytime nap...
    2nd Sep 2019
    first it was Chillies now taking a nap, all causes of Alzheimers. Love my Chillies, love my naps,
    er er forgot my line of thou...……...zzzzzzzzz
    2nd Sep 2019
    I can’t believe that. How many countries have siesta time and stay healthy? Greece, Italy, Spain and quite a few more.
    2nd Sep 2019
    Yes Triss my mother always had a siesta every afternoon for about 1 to 2 hour max then back up fully charged ...... she past away (86 years old) because cancer but she was all OK without any signs of Alzheimer’s .... also most of people in Latin countries have a siesta and if was a health problem then many millions of Latin people will suffer from Alzheimer’s but it is rare decease in Latin countries I believe ..... maybe because we have siestas he he he
    2nd Sep 2019
    A load of bunkum. It is normal to have a nap at any age
    2nd Sep 2019
    They have let the uni students loose in the science lab again.
    Trouble is they forgot to teach them proper scientific research.
    2nd Sep 2019
    The research studiously (sic) avoids talking about all the cultures where a siesta is a traditional way of life...hmm
    2nd Sep 2019
    So do Spain, Italy, Greece and southern France all have 50% plus incidences of Alzheimers? This would be a reasonable test of this questionable theory. How does this claim relate to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet or is that maybe the antidote?
    5th Sep 2019
    Having a nap during the day recharges your batteries. Having worked both day and night for some time I found that having an hour nap at lunch time kept me going through the night job after work. Kept me wide awake and no fear of falling asleep at the wheel going home late at night.
    10th Sep 2019
    Here is an interesting and positive news about research on Alzhiemers and what you can do to prevent it:

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