Sleep Medication and Dementia

Geriatrics

03 Oct 2020 | 5 | by kjh

17410login-checkSleep Medication and Dementia

Many people take sleep medications when they get older.  But not a lot of research has been published in regard to sleep medications and its connection with dementia. Yue Leng, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Francisco, says “Usually when people have sleep problems, they’re prescribed these medications by default. But few studies have looked into what the medications are really doing to their body and to their brain.”

A more recent study at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019, included a racially diverse group of 3,068 people, ages 70 to 79, who were cognitively healthy when the study began. Researchers questioned the participants about their use of sleeping pills and sifted through information about them from medical records and tests of brain function over a 15-year period.

According to the results of the study, older adults who reported using sleep medications “often” or “almost always” were 43 percent more likely to develop dementia over the course of the study than those who took them “rarely” or “never.” The association was true only for white study participants, however.

Many questions remain. The study doesn’t explain why there was no association between the use of sleeping pills and dementia among black participants. Also, researchers didn’t distinguish between types of sleeping aids, which may have different effects on the brain.

The data do not establish that sleeping medications cause dementia. It could be that the source of an individual’s sleeplessness — and not the use of sleep aids — is responsible for cognitive decline.

Many hope that more studies can be done especially with specific sleep medications. Doctors should always be consulted and questioned when prescribing sleep medications especially when there are warnings and side effects with specific medications. 

Additional research from Utah State University in Logan examined the link between the long-term use of sleeping pills and the development of Alzheimer’s disease among a group of 3,656 adults, ages 65 and older.

“There’s been a lot of research that’s looked at the association between sleep disturbances and risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease,” says study author Elizabeth Vernon, a Utah State doctoral student. “We were looking at whether these sleeping aids may also contribute to the risk.”

The results varied by gender and other factors. Men in the group who used sleeping agents were 3.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Women’s risk for the disease depended on whether they reported having a history of insomnia. When women reported they had such a problem, which was technically explained as “sleep disturbance,” taking a sleeping medication was associated with a 35 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But Alzheimer’s risk was nearly four times higher among women who didn’t report having a sleep disturbance and who took sleep medication to, say, counter sleep loss associated with something like chronic pain.

These differences may stem from underlying health challenges and/or the type of sleeping aid used. Differences between the genders may also be attributable to hormonal differences or variations in the sleep patterns of men and women. “Females spend more time in slow-wave sleep, and males tend to spend more time in earlier sleep stages,” Vernon says.

 

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Sean123
Sean123
1 year ago

Now I’m even more confused

farheen
farheen
1 year ago

here is the medicine

farheen
farheen
1 year ago

A medication is a substance that is taken into or placed on the body that does one of the following things: Most medications are used to cure a disease or condition. For example, antibiotics are given to cure an infection. Medications are also given to treat a medical condition.

farheen
farheen
1 year ago
Reply to  farheen

are you sure

farheen
farheen
1 year ago
Reply to  farheen

yes i replyed

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