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Alzheimer's Disease Possibly Linked To Sleep Deprivation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the justification-for-more-sleep dept.

Medicine 164

sonnejw0 writes "NewScientist is reporting a link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's Disease via an increased amyloid-beta plaque load thought responsible for a large part of the symptoms of the disease, in mice. Medication to abrogate insomnia reduced the plaque load. Also discussed is a recently discovered sleep cycle of amyloid-beta deposition in the brain, in which levels decrease while asleep. 'Holtzman also tried sending the mice to sleep with a drug that is being trialled for insomnia, called Almorexant. This reduced the amount of plaque-forming protein. He suggests that sleeping for longer could limit the formation of plaques, and perhaps block it altogether.'"

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"You can sleep when you're demented" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544209)

"You can sleep when you're demented"

Re:"You can sleep when you're demented" (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544545)

I remember my dreams. I'm demented when I sleep.

Bike, nigga stole my bike! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544221)

adddriaaaannn

How does this apply to ... (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544223)

Ronald Reagan?

Re:How does this apply to ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544671)

Nice point. That's pretty sad. The more you sacrifice yourself for your country, the more likely you are to end your days demented :(

(And for the record: yes, I register as 'liberal'. Patriotism doesn't know partisan divisions, nor does its opposite.)

Re:How does this apply to ... (2, Interesting)

Rainbird98 (186939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545629)

Well, it doesn't. Reagan was noted as a not a hard working president, early to bed, late to rise type guy. Yet, he died of this disease. Of course some people think he was a rat, so maybe the analogy applies.

Re:How does this apply to ... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545797)

> Reagan was noted as a not a hard working president,
> early to bed, late to rise type guy.

Smart man.

(Before he came down with the Alzheimer's, I mean.)

Why do we sleep? (5, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544229)

Could delaying the inevitable onset of Alzheimer's be the biological function of sleep? Last I heard, the purpose of sleep wasn't entirely clear, and there were anecdotal reports of people basically eliminating it with drugs, sometimes with little ill-effect. I've long been of the opinion that if wakefullness promoting agents don't have short-term effects, there must be a longer-term negative impact, because if there weren't, the body would synthesise something similar, at least in people who are sufficiently well-fed not to mind the extra energy usage. Sleeping is basically a good chance to get eaten.

It's going to be a long time before we find out if regular modafinil users get early Alzheimer's.

P.S. It's been over an hour, and it still isn't possible to reply to this article. I'll post this when Slashdot works. I predict about 30 people claiming First Post.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544263)

Posting without my Bonus cause it's OT: looks like the outage was while /. got some kind of upgrade, and now story URLs sometimes have the story title in them.

Re:Why do we sleep? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544359)

looks like the outage was while /. got some kind of upgrade, and now story URLs sometimes have the story title in them.

Upgrade? In my slashdot? Unpossible.

Slashdot got hacked again. Happens every Friday nowadays. Last Friday (or the friday before?) it was ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD appearing in the sidebar links. A few weeks ago there was even a mainpage story about the successful hacking.

Re:Why do we sleep? (3, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544421)

Could delaying the inevitable onset of Alzheimer's be the biological function of sleep? Last I heard, the purpose of sleep wasn't entirely clear, and there were anecdotal reports of people basically eliminating it with drugs, sometimes with little ill-effect. I've long been of the opinion that if wakefullness promoting agents don't have short-term effects, there must be a longer-term negative impact, because if there weren't, the body would synthesise something similar, at least in people who are sufficiently well-fed not to mind the extra energy usage. Sleeping is basically a good chance to get eaten. It's going to be a long time before we find out if regular modafinil users get early Alzheimer's.

I'd credit your theory; however there has been some research that shows Caffeine can also act against Alzheimer's. When consumed regularly it appears to slow it's progress as well as somewhat mitigating the symptoms.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544435)

And there I was thinking geeks were clever cause we were born that way...

Re:Why do we sleep? (2, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544611)

Of course, the term "wakefulness promoting agent" is used to distinguish drugs like modafinil from traditional stimulants like caffeine. Going without sleep with caffeine usually means you have to catch up, and, in my own experience, doesn't stop you getting stupider after several hours. Modafinil supposedly allows one to stay up all night, functioning normally, and only require the normal amount of sleep the night after they come off it.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545313)

Of course, the term "wakefulness promoting agent" is used to distinguish drugs like modafinil from traditional stimulants like caffeine.

I figured the phrase "wakefulness promoting agent" is used mainly to distinguish drugs like modafinil from the traditional US Schedule II stimulants amphetamine and methylphenidate, possibly to avoid any negative connotations associated with the word stimulant and these drugs. I've seen claims that modafinil isn't even a stimulant at all [google.com] .

Calling it a "wakefulness promoting agent" probably helps get modafinil prescribed instead of significantly cheaper stimulants like methylphenidate (which is even part of some pharmacies' $4/30 days generic program.)

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545545)

some research that shows Caffeine can also act against Alzheimer's

Ah. So maybe it's being tired that causes Alzheimer's. If you're tired you can either have a sleep or have a coffee.

Re:Why do we sleep? (4, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544459)

There is no such thing as sleep deprivation without short term ill-effects. We know that cognitive ability declines with a lack of sleep, even if it's a small lack of sleep ever night over an extended period of time. Your cognitive ability and reaction time will continue to decline until you start getting complete sleep. In fact, after a few weeks, people with sleep deprivation begin to perceive that they're "getting used to it" and are going back to normal in spite of their continued decline.

Re:Why do we sleep? (2, Interesting)

smprather (941570) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544483)

I have zero proof, but I've always figured sleeping was simply a low power state to go into since we're highly optimized to operate in well lit conditions. Then the body then found some other useful things it could do while sleeping, like imprinting recently learned patterns in the brain.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544543)

Humans are conditioned for being awake in the day time, but there is no reason to believe that this has anything to do with the need for sleep other than the fact that when we sleep is regulated by the circadian rhythm which is controlled by light exposure. However, all mammals need sleep whether they are awake in the day, nocturnal, or sea mammals.

Re:Why do we sleep? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544503)

Sleeping is basically a good chance to get eaten.

I suspect sleeping has a higher level function as well, like getting rid of all the crap you accumulate in your head throughout the day. Maybe some (perhaps non-essential, just useful) chemicals in our brain tend to run out when awake, and sleep is needed to restock them.

However, awake is only one state of mind out of many, it'd be foolish to disregard most of them. (I don't consider "auto-pilot on the highway" awake, for example.)

Re:Why do we sleep? (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544601)

Sleeping is basically a good chance to get eaten.

Not necessarily. Wandering around in the open is probably a lot more dangerous than being holed up in a lair - especially if your sensory organs are optimized for night and it is day or vice versa. Plus, animals and people are very highly attuned to certain noises while asleep - basically if it sounds like something is approaching or entering the lair most animals will quickly transition from sleep to fully awake.

Re:Why do we sleep? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545003)

Hmm. Sounds like we need alarm clocks that sound more like approaching leopards...

Re:Why do we sleep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29545553)

That's actually not a bad idea. Alarm clocks are no trouble for me to sleep through, but someone coming in the house on the other hand I'm wide awake in a third of a second, if that.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545841)

My housecats do fine waking me up.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544661)

It could just be that, evolutionary speaking, there wasn't much to do at night and thus we rest half the day to save energy.

Re:Why do we sleep? (5, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544705)

Could delaying the inevitable onset of Alzheimer's be the biological function of sleep? Last I heard, the purpose of sleep wasn't entirely clear

What? No. There are at least two functions of sleep that I know of: one is cleaning up misshapen proteins that accumulate during the day (and may be what causes tiredness). The other is transcription of short-term memory into long-term memory. Evolutionarily speaking, nobody ever lived long enough to get Alzheimers. Those who did wandered off into the tundra and didn't burden the tribe any longer.

Re:Why do we sleep? (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544795)

You first point is (seemingly) correct. Sleep is not evolution's way of preventing Alzheimer's Disease. Your second point is incorrect.

Healthy old folks are directly beneficial to social groups. They remember how to solve problems. They can take care of grandchildren while the parents are off gathering food. And many social groups had old folks. Sure, most people didn't live to get very old. But some did.

Re:Why do we sleep? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544841)

Healthy old folks are directly beneficial to social groups. They remember how to solve problems. They can take care of grandchildren while the parents are off gathering food. And many social groups had old folks. Sure, most people didn't live to get very old. But some did.

That's absolutely true of grandparents, but we're talking about great-great grandparents here, from a bio-evolutionary standpoint.

Re:Why do we sleep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544933)

Ah, but as you point out, having a *few* old folks is good (1 in 10 maybe). Lots of surviving old folks hanging around would be bad for a tribe that needs to work to get food. So the few old survivors are the exception, not the general case.

So I think his two-point statement still holds just fine.

Re:Why do we sleep? (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545009)

The presence of large numbers of old people makes hunting for food way easier. If you aren't picky.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

Tontoman (737489) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545687)

Some old folks that keep physically fit can can keep gathering food through their 80's and beyond. Look at Jack Lalanne for example.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545059)

Healthy old folks are directly beneficial to social groups.

Unless they talk about:
"withered flesh... sagging breasts... and flabby b-b-buttocks..."

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545175)

Healthy old folks are directly beneficial to social groups.

You bet. They keep all the kids off my lawn.

Re:Why do we sleep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29545437)

I think he meant that there is no basis for sleep being a mitigation for Alzheimers as the result of some evolutionary pressure.

Consider how old one has to be before Alzheimers typically sets in, and consider the fecundity of our distant ancestors, presumably breeding as soon as sexual maturity, say around 15 years old. By the time you get Alzheimers, you've probably got great-grand-offspring, and you haven't contributed to the gene pool in a while. As long as there are a few oldsters who don't succumb to Alzheimers, the tribe can benefit from the wisdom and services of the aged. So, Alzheimers should cause no more evolutionary pressure than the occasional elderly proto-human being eaten by a proto-grue - perhaps less, if proto-grues were drawn to the faint smell of yummy brain plaque.

- T

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

msutchmk2 (1644577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29546129)

I should say it'll be much better for your human body's health if you can fall asleep without taking medications. Just try to relax before you go to sleep and take a hot shower. According to studies, eating beans on a regular basis and work out as often as possible can also prevent Alzheimer's Disease. Normally, after working out, I usually have a better quality of sleep at night, so I guess doing physical exercises is a key way to improve our sleep and therefore, keep us away from Alzheimer's Disease.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544829)

The full purpose behind sleep is still unclear. We know a fair amount of what happens during sleep, but we don't understand why it has to take place while we sleep or why sleep has multiple stages and why we cycle through them twice each night. Tiredness is caused by a chemical regulated by the Circadian Rhythm.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29546153)

The hunter-gatherer lifestyle wasn't nearly as harsh as most people think. Varied diets and short work weeks (20 hours/week gathering food) lead to a life expectancy far greater than their agriculturist neighbors. [Semi-]Modern hunter gatherers generally hit their 50-60s IIRC, and that's in rather harsh terrain, so Alzheimer's was probably something that was encountered. The only reasons (hypothetically) that agriculture took off is a) you can't gather enough hops to brew beer in significant quantities (seriously), and b) it supports a much larger, albeit malnourished, population size (so militarily you can guess who had the advantage).

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29546225)

There are at least two functions of sleep that I know of: one is cleaning up misshapen proteins that accumulate during the day (and may be what causes tiredness). The other is transcription of short-term memory into long-term memory.

Sleep also serves an important economic function. Just ask the proprietor of any business in the bedding industry, the hotel industry, the sleeping car manufacturing industry .... Where would our GDP be without sleep creating demands for all those goods?

Now I wait and see if anyone tries to take me seriously. It always happens when you make a deliberately stupid comment.

Re:Why do we sleep? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545755)

Sleeping is basically a good chance to get eaten.

Wow. And I thought I lived in a bad neighborhood.

Also linked to lyme disease... (5, Interesting)

Gicuenitro (1644497) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544239)

Alan MacDonald, M.D., is a pathologist affiliated with St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, New York. His current research is concentrated on developing what he refers to as a new biology for Lyme disease, including the use of special DNA probes to detect Borrelia DNA in spinal fluid and in tissue sections from Alzheimer autopsy tissues.

Through his research, and with the help of other leading researchers in the field of molecular and cellular biology, Dr. MacDonald is pioneering a broader understanding about the behavior of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. He has appeared as an invited lecturer at Lyme symposia, including the ILADS National Scientific Meetings and Columbia University/Lyme Disease Association conferences in Philadelphia, PA, where he presents the findings from his explorations into the connection between Borrelia spirochetal infection and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Alan MacDonald: "Using the syphilis model, I began to study some autopsied brains, and found that I was able to identify spirochetes in autopsied brain tissue in the hippocampus, which is one of the areas that Alzheimer's disease tends to target in every patient. I was able to grow spirochetes from autopsied Alzheimer's brain tissue, and stain the spirochetes with special monochromal antibodies, through the techniques I learned and developed through the study of stillborn babies with Lyme disease. And those two positive results made me think even more strongly that some Alzheimer's might be like syphilis, a late manifestation of the bacterial infection in the brain, not to say that all Alzheimer's disease is related to Lyme disease, but some."

Not enough is known about Lyme Disease and its relation to Alzheimer's, ALS, MS, Fybromyalgia, etc. But, you can be sure Dr. MacDonald will be at the forefront.

Re:Also linked to lyme disease... (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544917)

That'd be pretty great. the number of tickbites is certain to decrease, and, if it's identified as a major thread, can certainly be avoided almost entirely. But it's only been published in a single paper called "Medical Hypotheses" and there are a number of other diseases mentioned as possible causes: "In both AD and/or the tSEs, transmissible agents and infectious proteins have been postulated to be aetiological factors [4], [8], [11], [12] and [13]. These include bacteria such as Chlamydia pneumoniae [14], Borrelia burgdorferi [15] and [16] and Spiroplasma sp., a helical mycoplasma in scrapie [17], typical and atypical (unconventional) viruses [18], e.g., Herpes simplex virus [19] or L-particles of the latter [19] and [20], tobacco mosaic virus [21], retro-viruses [22], viroids and plasmids [23] and [24], virinos [25], scrapie-associated fibrils [26] and [27] and others [28] U. De Boni and D.R. Crapper, Paitred helical filaments of the Alzheimer-type in cultured neurons, Nature 271 (1978), pp. 566-568. Full Text via CrossRef | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (4)[28].: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WN2-4N6FVHJ-6&_user=1676895&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2007&_rdoc=1&_fmt=full&_orig=search&_cdi=6950&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000054205&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=1676895&md5=8536e295f899761700037b54b167c9c5#secx5 [sciencedirect.com]

Should be easy enough to ask a sample of patients and a control what diseases they had and how much time they spent outdoors. So easy in fact that I'm sure it's been done and nothing came up.

Re:Also linked to lyme disease... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545063)

It should be noted that Medical Hypotheses is (deliberately) focused on publishing very preliminary and unconventional stuff. Their description [elsevier.com] .

Obviously, all theories go through a wildly unproven stage; and some of the stuff in Medical Hypotheses may well grow up to be conventional wisdom some day; but it is there because it isn't now.

My favorite is this [medical-hypotheses.com] magnificently tactless work.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544247)

But I don't remember what I wanted to post about, sigh.

Got an idea if you don't have time for sleep (2, Funny)

vehicle tracking (1357065) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544249)

Why don't we all just start taking Holtzman?

I stayed up all night... (4, Funny)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544257)

...trying to think of a clever comment, but now I forgot it!

Re:I stayed up all night... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544287)

good stuff

Implications for other Mental Diseases? (4, Interesting)

FormerUpper (908582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544261)

Could this plaque, and its base cause of sleep deprivation also be the cause of some mental illnesses? I have heard that Alzheimer's Disease resembles both Schizophrenia and Bipolar. Maybe this might have implications for those tragic diseases.

Re:Implications for other Mental Diseases? (1, Flamebait)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544555)

I dunno, I'm not so sure I'd call those diseases tragic. I find the rest of the world's 16 hr waking days terribly boring and pity their lack of creativity and productivity. Granted some people don't cope well with BP and Schizophrenia and they make the news (so to speak) but many people manage well and use it to their advantage.

I do hope that only sleeping 3.5 hrs a day (on average) for my entire life won't have the detrimental payback of Alzheimer's. But, then again, there is a price to pay for everything. I enjoy the longer days. The quiet when you sleep and I can work in peace is wonderful. I've never seen any ill effects of low sleep. I only feel fatigued or tired if I get less than 2 hrs. Anything over 5 hrs and I feel like shit for the next day (EG: listless, slower motor response time, impaired cognition).

Re:Implications for other Mental Diseases? (1, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545277)

I think you're right. Many of the newer antipsychotics are basically glorified sleeping pills and are often off-prescribed as sleep aids.

Do Naps Count? (3, Interesting)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544267)

I went 2-3 days w/out sleep in college, now(15 years later) I can hardly make it through the day without a nap.
7 hours a night is my minimum or I am definitely off my A Game that day. Some nights I need 10.

  What happened to needing less sleep as we get older?

Re:Do Naps Count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544345)

What happened to needing less sleep as we get older?

Oh, that doesn't happen till you are older than older.

Re:Do Naps Count? (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544531)

I'm suspecting sleep apnea [sleepapnea.org] for myself. Sleepiness, brain fog, slow thinking, lack of willpower, even mild depression... all can be caused by it. I'm seeing a doctor about it next week. I wonder if it ties into Alzheimer's now. My grandfather had both.

Re:Do Naps Count? (3, Interesting)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544609)

I had the same thing as you - in college, I could go more than a day without sleep. I'd definitely be dragging that second day, but I could do it. After college, and as time wore on, I found that I just needed more and more sleep. On weekends, I would sometimes get 12+ hours of sleep - and I'd still be tired!! I'd sometimes take naps on weekend afternoons.

For me, the problem was that I had obstructive sleep apnea. That's where you stop breathing when you fall asleep (your brain wakes you up just enough that you start breathing again, but not enough that you become aware that you woke up.) Most people who have sleep apnea aren't even aware they have a problem, they just assume you should be tired all the time.

I was finally diagnosed last year, and I did a sleep study**. They gave me a CPAP machine - I wear the mask whenever I sleep, and the CPAP machine pushes air into me. Effectively, it's inflating my airway so it doesn't close during the night. I'm a totally different person now! I don't need naps, and I sleep about 7-8 hours a night before I wake up normally.

If you're feeling the same way (naps during the day, needing more time every night to get rested) you might want to see a sleep specialist and ask for a sleep study.

My [twin] brother reported similar symptoms as you, and I eventually convinced him to see his doctor about it. Turns out, he also has apnea, got a CPAP, and is much better.

** For you fellow CPAP users out there, let's compare numbers: I had 57 sleep disruptions per hour, and my CPAP pressure is 14, no EPR.

Re:Do Naps Count? (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544971)

I am told I am a bad snorer(on the rare occasion I can talk a gal into my mom's basement, lol). Will have to look into it, but I have no insurance at the moment and my GP of 20 years retired and I haven't found a Doc I like since.

I know people who have gotten the machine and their rapid improvement was night & day, indicated by both their testimony and independent observation. My father showed similar improvements by using the mouth-piece looking gadget with the blow-hole his Dr gave him to try before the machine. *Not the one on TV, I assume there is a difference.*

Re:Do Naps Count? (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545861)

57? that's pretty bad...

But I think I blew the charts with my AHI score of 152. Verified it with a 2nd sleep study that scored 148.

I think the nasal septum surgery helped that a bit, but the CPAP/BiPAP actually made me wake up (and notice waking up) more often. I still have no clue what is actually causing this... *sigh*

Re:Do Naps Count? (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544867)

The three pillars to good health: sleep, nutrition, and exercise. If one of them is missing, the rest all goes downhill.

With the old people I've talked to who need less sleep, it seems they are also at the same time not quite getting the exercise and proper nutrition they need to keep their body sustained. Sleeping is work for your body, it spends the time in repairs. If you don't have the right nutrients, it's harder.

Sometime try fasting for a couple days and see how it affects your sleep. Instead of skipping food completely, you can try going on a 900 calorie diet for a while. Pretty soon you will find that your don't sleep as long, but that you aren't as well rested either. The worst is when you sleep a full six hours, but find you feel as though you haven't slept at all.

If you don't eat all the nutrients you need, say you don't eat enough vegetables, the same thing will happen to you, but on a longer scale. It may take years for the lack of broccoli in your diet to show up in your body, but eventually it will, and you will feel it. That happens to a lot of old people.

Re:Do Naps Count? (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544905)

People with certain neurological conditions (like myself) need more sleep than the average person because we have to work harder to do the same physical/mental tasks as everyone else. Many people can function just fine on a regular basis with just 6 hours of sleep but I need at least 8 per night or my ability is impaired even more. Fortunately, I work at home and can take a nap or just rest for a little while anytime I need to.

Re:Do Naps Count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29545395)

Could it be that what all the non-compsci students have been telling you all your life was true? That computers are boring-est machines on Earth. That using a computer to talk to a bunch of computer geeks about boring old science is really really dull. Maybe old age just gives you the wisdom to see through some illusions that clouded your mind in your youth.

[ I thought you guys might like to know about a beautiful priority queue algorithm that I discovered in an old LISP book. It's fairly isomorphic to the standard array based binary heap and it doesn't improve the big O performance ( though technically it actually does if you take into account array resizing). It has beautifully clean storage : just 1 pointer for the external representation of the heap (root) and 2 pointers (left,right) in each node (3 if you want to do a decreasekey operation). Every insert or delete operation manages to change the position of every single node (except maybe the root) in the heap using just O(n) operations. Isn't that amazing! ]

Re:Do Naps Count? (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29546013)

Yeah-- I was an architecture student. First night without sleep no problem. Second night... a little wired and not allowed to play witty xacto knives. Walking home after the third night, nothing but halucinations. Curse you, dr. Pepper!

As a graduate student... (4, Funny)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544279)

...I am SO screwed. I think.

Re:As a graduate student... (2, Interesting)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544351)

Me too. I've had around 2 weeks of decent sleep in the last two years and those two weeks were gained by taking sleeping pills after I crawled into the Doctor's surgery barely alive!

Re:As a graduate student... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544373)

You have a choice:

You can stop Grad school now and hope that the ill effects are mild or negligent.

You can continue Grad school, and forget it all immediately after.

Re:As a graduate student... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545073)

I am as well, I get 4-6 hours most nights when I'm NOT having an insomnia episode and both of my grandmothers have Alzheimer's. I think my only hope is that medical science will have evolved enough in the next 30 years that they will have some way to remove the plaques before they start to rob me of my cognitive functions. I have already told my kids that they are to take me on a hike into the backwoods of Yellowstone in the fall if I ever get to the point where they want to put me in a home, at least there my corpse will do some good.

just maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29545235)

That's why it's always the college students the old people are the most radical (left wing or right wing).
It seems that both groups don't get much sleep...

Cool discovery (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544301)

I have to say, I like reading this kind of story, but they are so far beyond my area of expertise that I can't ever say anything except "wow, that's interesting."

I guess I can try for the fake-pretending-I-understand, "an increased amyloid-beta plaque load?? Why of course! The meta-prozoids all make sense now!!" OR vaguely humorous, "Why plaque? That only grows on teeth!!!"

Anyway, just saying that even though I don't always comment on these stories, that doesn't mean I don't find them interesting. This one is interesting to me.

Re:Cool discovery (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544613)

NOW you tell me...my default behavior for any Slashdot story is to go into the comments and search for "phantomfive". If I don't find it, I assume the story must not be very interesting, and I move on to the next one. Now what am I supposed to do? And how many interesting stories have I missed all this time?

Re:Cool discovery (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544793)

Hehe dang, whatever did you do in the days before I signed up? It must have all been very confusing to you.

Re:Cool discovery (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545239)

The hell? I was following you cuz I thought you knew what you're doing...

companies will always have night shifts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544337)

to save some money.

and because when unhealthy workers die or get sick, they can just fire them and hire new ones.

so your boss? (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544339)

so your boss is guilty for your dementia, now that's fucked up (lol)

Re:so your boss? (1)

meowhous (1592411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544425)

Boss may be innocent if he/she schedules lots of nap-inducing meetings, though.

Re:so your boss? (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545485)

not in my book ]:) grab your torch and pitch forks! héhé

This does not bode well for programmers .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544369)

This is really really bad news for those of us who live to write code.

Now I'm going to have to quit writing code and apply for janitorial work.

Amyloid-beta Desposits != Dementia (5, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544387)

Alzheimer's suffers have amyloid-beta plaque deposits in their brains. Usually. Not always.

There are people who have amyloid-beta deposits in the brains. Some of them have dementia, including Alzheimer's. Not all.

Amyloid-beta plaque can be cleared from the brain by immunization. The dementia occurs anyway.:
AB42 Immunisation Clears Brain Plaques, Does Not Prevent Dementia ...
http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/225f1e.htm [pslgroup.com]

Thus, this article should read "Amyloid-Beta Plaque Desposition and Clearing Possibly Associated With Sleep", and any implied link to Alzheimer's saved until the discussion section at the end.

Re:Amyloid-beta Desposits != Dementia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544689)

Alzheimer's suffers have amyloid-beta plaque deposits in their brains. Usually. Not always.

There are people who have amyloid-beta deposits in the brains. Some of them have dementia, including Alzheimer's. Not all.

Amyloid-beta plaque can be cleared from the brain by immunization. The dementia occurs anyway.:
AB42 Immunisation Clears Brain Plaques, Does Not Prevent Dementia ...
http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/225f1e.htm [pslgroup.com]

Thus, this article should read "Amyloid-Beta Plaque Desposition and Clearing Possibly Associated With Sleep", and any implied link to Alzheimer's saved until the discussion section at the end.

There is a family of amyloids associated with Alzheimer's and dementia, of which AÃY42 is only one. While AÃY42 is typically the quickest to aggregate, AÃY40 can cause dementia just as easily (though it takes a lifetime to aggregate enough of it).

Re:Amyloid-beta Desposits != Dementia (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545013)

Alzheimer's suffers have amyloid-beta plaque deposits in their brains. Usually. Not always.

There are people who have amyloid-beta deposits in the brains. Some of them have dementia, including Alzheimer's. Not all.

Amyloid-beta plaque can be cleared from the brain by immunization. The dementia occurs anyway.:
AB42 Immunisation Clears Brain Plaques, Does Not Prevent Dementia ...
http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/225f1e.htm [pslgroup.com]

Thus, this article should read "Amyloid-Beta Plaque Desposition and Clearing Possibly Associated With Sleep", and any implied link to Alzheimer's saved until the discussion section at the end.

There is a family of amyloids associated with Alzheimer's and dementia, of which AÃY42 is only one. While AÃY42 is typically the quickest to aggregate, AÃY40 can cause dementia just as easily (though it takes a lifetime to aggregate enough of it).

"... can cause dementia just as easily ..." implies a persistent belief in causation despite the reference providing evidence that one of the two obviously is not causative. What can be taken as adequately supported understanding of causation is the fact that Ab40 accumulation (by far the majority of plaque deposit) is seeded by the earlier accumulation of Ab42 (and 43) that forms tendrils much faster, attracting Ab40 out of 'diffuse plaque', the solution of non-tendrilled amyloid beta proteins with a hydrophobic C-terminal sequence anywhere from the 39 to 42 locus.

It likely takes much more than a lifetime to accumulate the kind of plaque deposition seen in AD from Ab 40 in the absence of tendril forming Ab42 accumulations. And, as stated by the reference above, and implied by the wording of most publications on the subject, there is plenty of evidence associating both Ab40 and 42 to AD, but not supporting causation.

Ref for my reply: http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/11/1/19 [psychiatryonline.org]

Thanks for challenging me, I enjoyed it.

But... But... But... (2, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544481)

A while back they said that caffeine could prevent or slow the disease. Since then I've been drinking 12 cups of coffee a day and sleep on average 30 minutes a night! And now this? Bastards!

Re:But... But... But... (2, Informative)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545273)

Caffiene helps by dilating blood vessels, supplying the brain with more oxygen, glucose, and most importantly the removal of toxic reactive oxygen species. At least that's what I thought.

the purpose of sleep (1)

dumbfounder (770681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544527)

The main purpose of sleep is to sort your memories and mental connections you make while conscious. As you get older, it makes sense that this becomes more difficult, because there is a lot more data to deal with. So the benefits of sleep actually increase, but for some reason it seems that older people sleep less than younger people. Sleeping is like defragging your hard drive, if you don't do it often your data becomes very fragmented. I wrote a blog entry on this a while back, and just a few months ago I was talking to someone about Alzheimers and that I thought there might be a connection. http://blog.searchles.com/2008/03/why-we-sleep.html [searchles.com] (I am no scientist, this was just my take as an information expert)

Total B.S.! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544673)

If that were even remotely true statistically, our society would have already been overburdened by doddering night workers whom keep our society going while the rest sleep.

Complete HOOEY!

holtzman effect (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544729)

Did anyone else think it odd that this had nothing to do with Dune? This wasn't the Holtzman Effect I was looking for.

Too much sleep may double risk of Parkinson's Dise (1)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544767)

And according to some other studies TOO MUCH sleep may be implicated in Parkinsons....

http://www.sleepdex.org/s25.htm [sleepdex.org]

So what is too little and what is too much... and how much overlap is there...

Re:Too much sleep may double risk of Parkinson's D (1)

JRR006 (830025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545109)

As always, we have to consider whether people whose bodies naturally guide them to nine hours or more of sleep per night have an underlying physiology that makes them more likely to develop Parkinson's. For example's sake, when my schedule is uninterrupted and I can sleep for as long or short as I want, that is, go to sleep when tired and wake up naturally, I average about eight and a half to nine hours. Alarm clocks and the modern world keep me sleeping about seven hours a night. Am I mitigating the potentially harmful effects of sleeping so much by keeping my body on an unnatural rhythm, or are the underlying risk factors still present? Biology is not my forte. The stuff about night shift work and hormones is interesting. Higher levels of melatonin and oestradiol = increased risk. The article doesn't mention, however, if night shift workers take night shifts because they're naturally "night owls" (meaning they would have some biological factors regulating their risk of developing the disease) or if their schedule is out of their hands (that is, we can impose external schedules on sleep biology to manage risk factors). There are all sorts of risk factors that can be managed with proper diet/exercise/etc, I guess it's not too much of a stretch to assume that sleep management would have similar benefits.

Theories of Sleep & Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544769)

Sorry for AC, but can't remember my account login. For lack of sleep you know.

A couple of the prevailing theories of sleep are both related to the brain.

1. Neurons are special cells that are usually not replaced. Unlike just about every other cell in the body.
This creates a special maintenance task for the body. It's difficult to repair the neuron while it's in use, and
could be dangerous for information processing. Thus, it has to effectively shut down the interaction with the
the environment to do it.

2. Neuronal pruning is the other major task proposed. Meaning, information that is not salient gets erased.

There are probably numerous bodily functions that have attached themselves to the function of sleep. But,
I think if it sacrifices consciousness to do it, the primary reason for sleep must be the brain.

I was going to comment.. (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544827)

..but I'm too tired, and I forgot what I was going to say.

Sorry, nothing to see here... (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544847)

Sorry, nothing to see here - I have no time to comment, I have to go to bed...

Permanent Damage from Sleep Deprivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544923)

Wonder how this will influence the CIA's stance that sleep deprivation for long periods is an acceptable form of torture.

Which, by the way, is REALLY what the CIA is saying. Not that they don't torture - we all know they do - this is just an example of "acceptable" torture. But now that it can cause long-term illness ... we'll see if they revise that position.

Oh, and CIA? It's NOT OKAY TO TORTURE. For any reason. Even if you think its ultimately harmless. Because guess what - you DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING. And you are not in a position to judge what is and isn't harmless, given the moral looseness your organization must develop to do the things you do day in and day out.

I was going to post something insightful, (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544957)

But I forgot what it was.

Woohoo! (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544977)

Enjoy your dementia, overachievers!

Re:Woohoo! or Dementia for fun and prophets (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545411)

Dementia is not the same as Alzheimer's. Many more people have dementia than have Alzheimer's. We even categorize people with Parkinson's by those with Dementia (PDD) and those without Dementia (PD), for example.

FTD (frontal temporal dementia) is different as well.

My faves are the people who see little green men, or have irrational beliefs. You see a lot of those, actually.

They tell us this on a FRIDAY night? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29544991)

Great. Well, I guess I better head home early to bed tonight.

Sleep Deprivation = Possible Link to *Everything* (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 4 years ago | (#29544999)

It is NO surprise that a study finds Alzheimer's related to lack of sleep. I'm sure almost any study done for nearly any negative ailment could be linked to sleep deprivation in the exact, same way.

Hrm... Polyphasic sleep... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545021)

I wonder what the implications of this are for polyphasic sleep [wikipedia.org] and it's proponents. I've always thought the Uberman schedule (4 hours blocks of time with 30 minute naps) was an interesting idea, though I've never lived a lifestyle that would make it possible.

Re:Hrm... Polyphasic sleep... (1)

Inthewire (521207) | more than 4 years ago | (#29546343)

I worked a six hour on, six hour off shift for a few months (no days off) and absolutely loved it.

Better Headline: All-Nighters give you Alzheimer's (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545071)

... see! That's how you slashdot! That distorts the facts nicely and gets the attention. WTF? Why are you guys getting all accurate and boring in your headlines?

Counting mice (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545225)

So does this mean we should be counting mice rather than sheep to get to sleep.

It does have the advantages that more of them fit in the bedroom and people don't look at you funny.

Re: I forgot (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545365)

I was disappointed with all the jokers saying they forgot what they were going to post but then I realized they could all actually be from the same person...

wow (1)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545401)

Really interesting as I don't sleep too much, I think. I can't really remember.

These are actually not exactly AD mice (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545403)

They're mice that have symptoms very similar to Alzheimer's and we do use them in studies, but inferring anything when we only have a t-sample of 10 male humans to compare it to, is not very reasonable.

It does suggest a more in depth study, but to get any statistical power you would need probably 300 human controls and 300 AD cases to compare, age and gender matched. To allow for dropouts down to a final size of 254 each.

Now, this should not mean it's incorrect - we've always known that the risk factors for Alzheimer's include lack of sleep, after diet and exercise.

Take home message, try to get a reasonable amount of sleep, eat a varied diet low in red meat, and get mild to moderate exercise.

And if your doctor wants you to have low dose Aspirin, that's a good idea.

Oh Great... (1)

The Optimizer (14168) | more than 4 years ago | (#29545601)

Seeing how the birth of my son caused me 4 YEARS of extreme sleep deprivation, then I guess I am ... wait.. what was I saying?

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