It has been found through a new study that older adults that experience excessive sleepiness during the day or significant fatigue may have more brain atrophy than expected for their age. This is particularly in areas of the brain that are more susceptible to aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Subjects with excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue not only had more disturbed sleep but also lower cognitive scores and more medical comorbidities.
The results of this study may help to identify individuals at higher susceptibility or risk for dementia prior to symptom onset so that the appropriate interventions can be undertaken early to prevent progression to dementia, a resident physician of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota reported. The article was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and presented June 14th and 15th in Denver at Sleep 2016 at the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.
Authors of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging identified 1,374 normal elderly aged 50 years and older who completed sleepiness and fatigue surveys and had a baseline structural magnetic resonance imaging. Daytime sleepiness was defined as Epworth Sleepiness Scale of 10 or more and fatigue severity was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-II. This report was supported by the National Institute of Aging.
-Dr Fredda Branyon