Lack of sleep, depression may increase risk of Alzheimer’s years later.
Genetic Predisposition Not a Factor
New research suggests that lack of sleep and untreated depression may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, even for those who do not have a genetic predisposition for the disease. Depression and sleeplessness have long been considered symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This study examined whether untreated depression and lack of sleep may lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
“Our research is unique in that the population was cognitively normal at baseline and followed for two to ten years. We found not only an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to insomnia and depression as independent risk factors, but an even stronger association when these commonly experienced symptoms were combined with genetic risk factors, some of which were surprising.” said Dr. Shanna L. Burke, assistant professor of social work at the FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.
These findings suggest that alleviating depression and sleep disturbance may decrease the chances of a person developing the disease.