In the world of medicine, the Alzheimer’s condition is considered to be the enemy of mental health. Sleep deprivation or the lack of sleep is also a factor that is recognized when concerning the healthy state of one’s mind. In various studies, sleep disorders have been linked to several mental degenerative diseases. To expand on that point, “researchers reported that biomarkers for amyloid beta (A?), the plaque-building peptides associated with Alzheimer’s disease, increase over time in elderly adults with OSA in proportion to OSA severity. Thus, individuals with more apneas per hour had greater accumulation of brain amyloid over time.” Based on the data from the studies that reported the increase of Alzheimer’s in patients with sleep apnea, there is a potential positive correlation between how the sleep cycle functions and how susceptible an individual is for contracting the issue. In recent years, much study has been dedicated to the discovery of how Alzheimer’s is formed. Other professionals claim that “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis is widely believed to be driven by the production and deposition of the amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta).” Over time, the buildup of these hazardous plaque cells inhibits the normal functions of the mind. Plaque is well known for clogging the arteries and veins of the bloodstream and cardiovascular system. Today, plaque or amyloid beta peptide is a candidate for the position of the leading cause for dementia and Alzheimer’s level dementia. In fact, “for many years, investigators have been puzzled by the weak to nonexistent correlation between the amount of neurotic plaque pathology in the human brain and the degree of clinical dementia.” By understanding how the Alzheimer’s condition functions, individuals concerned about the issue have more of an opportunity to put their own minds at ease. Beyond this, understanding the functions of plaque and Amyloid Beta will only further the knowledge of those wishing to avoid Alzheimer’s.
What is Amyloid Beta?
The plaque found in the bloodstream of an individual’s body is used to prevent infections as well as provide a barrier from the external elements trying to enter the body. In some instances, plaque can become harmful under some conditions, mainly because of how it constricts the flow of blood. Due to the rise of Alzheimer’s related issues, more attention is being brought to what is considered the most contributing factors of Alzheimer’s. To gain some perspective, “AD is a neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts approximately five million older Americans. OSA is even more common, afflicting from 30 to 80 percent of the elderly, depending on how OSA is defined.” The bodies defense systems are much weaker in elderly individuals, making them more likely to produce a plaque related issue. The elderly are more easily influenced by the common issues that move throughout the world, and these issues include heavy plaque buildup. Plaque particles function as scales or platelets flowing the bloodstream, bunching together when repairing the body. To expand on this, “plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together. Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells.” In a sense, beta amyloid plaque cells are an isotope spawning from their more useful and helpful counterparts. Beta amyloid plaque cells work incredibly different from the bodies normal plaque cells. For example, “the most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signaling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells.” As opposed to blocking harmful bacteria, beta amyloid plaque cells do the opposite of what is necessary for a functional body. The next question that researchers asked involved the relationship between amyloid beta cells and the progression of Alzheimer’s.
How Does Amyloid Beta Influence Alzheimer’s?
Today, sleep disorders have grown to be recognized as a serious threat to one’s health, despite how harmless these conditions may appear. The process of sleep consists of a few different steps, each step helping to create adequate rest. Sleeping conditions such as sleep apnea and sleep walking can be more harmful to one’s condition than anticipated. In fact, “Several studies have suggested that sleep disturbances might contribute to amyloid deposits and accelerate cognitive decline in those at risk for AD,” said senior author Ricardo S. Osorio from the New York University School of Medicine.” The studies behind sleep disturbances believe to have found a link between the amount of plaque buildup in an individual and their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Despite this beneficial discovery, there is still some speculation as to how accurate these findings are. Plaque buildup is known to cause several issues, yet Alzheimer’s disease is a more complicated health condition than most individuals realize. Furthermore, “the purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between OSA severity and changes in AD biomarkers longitudinally, specifically whether amyloid deposits increase over time in healthy elderly participants with OSA.” OSA is a more aggressive form of sleep apnea, creating more health-related issues for the individuals with said condition. Patients also need to understand that even the most basic forms of sleep apnea can cause a severe plaque buildup if left untreated. Sleep apnea restricts blood flow, thus impeding the natural movements of the blood platelets in the bloodstream. One study found “that more than half the participants had OSA, including 36.5 percent with mild OSA and 16.8 percent with moderate to severe OSA.” Each of the participants in the study conducted above were elderly individuals; the most likely people to contract a dementia related disorder. Since sleep apnea causes plaque buildup and OSA is more harmful than the normal amount of sleep apnea, it can be understood that plaque buildup can be a major cause for Alzheimer’s. After learning how plaque buildup functions, a patient at risk for Alzheimer’s or even normal sleep apnea has more of an opportunity to find a positive treatment method.
How can Amyloid Beta and Alzheimer’s be treated?
If the Alzheimer’s condition is linked to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or OSA, then the treatment methods are clear. Staying healthy in the present is one of the best opportunities an individual has for preventing conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Essentially, it is the small things that an individual does every day that culminate into a healthy lifestyle. On another note, “the high prevalence of OSA the study found in these cognitively normal elderly participants and the link between OSA and amyloid burden in these very early stages of AD pathology.” It is the elderly that take a major portion of the damages caused by dementia related conditions. However, it is the early signs of a health condition that allow an individual to lead a healthy life. For example, overcoming issues such as sleep apnea puts an individual at a greater chance for health and survival. To treat sleep apnea, “the CPAP, dental appliances, positional therapy and other treatments for sleep apnea could delay cognitive impairment and dementia in many older adults.” The purpose of the CPAP machine is to provide more airflow to the lungs and more oxygen to the bloodstream as a result. When the bloodstream works the way it was designed to, the amount of plaque platelet buildup is normalized as well. With a normal plaque concentration, the ability to develop Alzheimer’s is greatly decreased.
Alzheimer’s is a condition that slowly wipes away the mental state of its victims. This condition is not always simple to recognize, but it can be prevented under the correct circumstances. Because of this issue, there have been a plethora of studies dedicated to sleep disorder prevention and Alzheimer’s dementia prevention. For example, one study showed that “deposited Abeta is more easily cleared from the brain in animal models and does not show the same physical and biochemical characteristics as the amyloid found in AD.” If this condition can be cleared more easily in less evolved animals, it is only a matter of time before research catches up with technology. Within the human body there are several anomalies that cause certain health conditions to occur. To expand upon thus, “the composition of these pools of Abeta reflects different populations of amyloid deposits and has definite correlates with the clinical status of the patient.” Alzheimer’s may cause an individual to forget who they are, but there is always an element of that individual remaining inside of themselves. This element is called hope, and it is incredibly useful in the world of medical research. Without hope, not even a potential link between plaque and Alzheimer’s can be found.