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Lack of sleep linked to accelerated brain aging in seniors

Researchers suggest that sleep problems should be considered a modifiable risk factor for dementia in healthy older adults


Key points from article :

Researchers conducted a study to investigate the relationship between sleep problems and accelerated brain aging.

They found that poor sleep quality and fragmented sleep in older adults were associated with accelerated brain aging, suggesting the importance of addressing sleep issues for brain health.

The study enrolled 50 healthy older volunteers, aged 65 and over. Sleep was monitored for two weeks using actigraphs and self-assessment, and the brain was studied through MRI.

Analysis showed a decrease in grey and white matter microstructure in the brain with aging and sleep problems.

The researchers developed a technique to estimate the difference between actual age and brain age using MRI data, discovering a correlation between poor sleep and an "older" brain by approximately two years.

The study's limitations include a relatively small number of participants; future research should include larger, more diverse groups and improved methods for estimating brain age.

Research by University of Birmingham published in Neurobiology of Aging.

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Neurobiology of Aging

Journal providing information on mechanisms of nervous system-changes during aging.

University of Birmingham

Public research university located in Edgbaston, United Kingdom

Topics mentioned on this page:
Sleep, Mental Health
Lack of sleep linked to accelerated brain aging in seniors