ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – New research from Washington University School of Medicine shows disrupted sleep could be a sign of pending dementia.

Lead researcher Yo-El Ju found that patients who had abnormal amyloid levels in their spinal fluid, meaning they likely had Alzheimer’s plagues building up in their brains, tended to have one major sleep problem: they didn’t sleep very well.

“There was no difference between the people who had pre-Alzheimer’s disease and those who didn’t in terms of the length of time they slept. However, there was a difference in sleep efficiency,” she explained.

“Someone who falls asleep immediately and stays asleep the whole eight hours would have one hundred percent sleep efficiency but that’s pretty rare. We found that those with pre-Alzheimer’s efficiency had lower sleep efficiency than those without pre-Alzheimer’s disease, meaning they slept less time they were in bed.”

Ju said she hopes future research will find a medication to improve the quality of sleep which might slow or prevent the progression of these plagues into Alzheimer’s disease.

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