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Poor Sleep Quality May Make Alzheimer’s Disease Conditions Worse

Posted on November 2, 2015 by Disability Help Group

Alzheimer’s disease is a cognitive disability that gradually reduces a patient’s ability to remember and process information. The condition can cause many symptoms, including inability to sleep and disturbances in normal sleep patterns. Researchers are now looking at these sleep disturbances as a clue to how Alzheimer’s damages the cognitive function of those afflicted with the disease.

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has found that chemical changes in the brain can be caused by the sleep disturbances commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers at the University of California-Irvine studied how common Alzheimer’s sleep patterns, which include being awake for 40 percent or more of normal sleep hours and sleeping during the day, may affect memory problems.

The research simulated jet-lag style sleep disturbances by altering the normal light and dark times with a shortened dark period, causing the Alzheimer’s-inflicted mice used in the study to have disturbed sleeping patterns. The mice with disturbed sleeping patterns showed significant learning impairments compared to the mice with normal circadian rhythm cycles.

Further research has found that the sleep disturbances led to a decrease in glutathione levels in brain cells. Glutathione is an antioxidant that assists in the prevention of damage to essential cellular components in the brain. A deficiency in this antioxidant can cause redox changes in brain cells, which can affect brain metabolism and inflammation. These conditions are related to the progression of Alzheimer’s, and if medications could target and prevent redox reactions, it could lead to new treatment options.

Does Alzheimer’s qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

Alzheimer’s disease is just one of many cognitive disorders that can qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. If you or a loved one can no longer work and earn a living due to a mental disorder or cognitive decline, the Disability Help Group is here to assist with your case. Contact us online or call us at 1-(800)-800-3332 to schedule a consultation with our disability advocates!