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, 22 (11), 1262-71

A Change in Sleep Pattern May Predict Alzheimer Disease

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A Change in Sleep Pattern May Predict Alzheimer Disease

Elizabeth A Hahn et al. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry.

Abstract

Objective: Sleep problems may adversely affect neuronal health. We examined a subjective report of change (reduced duration and/or depth) in sleep pattern in relation to subsequent risk of incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) over 9 years.

Methods: This longitudinal study used data from a population-based sample of 214 Swedish adults aged 75 and over who were dementia-free both at baseline and at first follow-up (3 years later). The sample was 80% female and, on average, 83.4 years of age at baseline. All participants underwent a thorough clinical examination to ascertain all-cause dementia and AD.

Results: Forty percent of participants reported a change in sleep duration at baseline. Between the 6th and 9th year after baseline, 28.5% were diagnosed with all-cause dementia, 22.0% of whom had AD. Reduced sleep was associated with a 75% increased all-cause dementia risk (hazard ratio: 1.75; 95% confidence interval: 1.04-2.93; Wald = 4.55, df = 1, p = 0.035) and double the risk of AD (hazard ratio: 2.01; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-3.61; Wald = 5.47, df = 1, p = 0.019) after adjusting for age, gender, and education. The results remained after adjusting for lifestyle and vascular factors but not after adjusting for depressive symptoms. No evidence supported a moderating effect of the use of sleeping pills, and the sleep-dementia relationship remained after controlling for the presence of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele.

Conclusion: Self-reported sleep problems may increase the risk for dementia, and depressive symptoms may explain this relationship. Future research should determine whether treatment, in particular, behavioral or nonpharmacologic treatment, may represent one avenue toward reduction of dementia risk in late life.

Keywords: Sleep disturbances; dementia; longitudinal; older adults.

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