In a recent study, scientists from Washington University in St. Louis discovered that levels of essential Alzheimer’s proteins fell in persons who used sleeping medications, suggesting a connection between getting enough sleep and reducing the spread of the illness.
The scientific publication Annals of Neurology released the modest study’s research findings on Thursday.
People who took a sleeping aid before bed were tested for Alzheimer’s proteins as part of a two-night study. Suvorexant, the sleeping pill they utilized, has been accepted by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for insomnia.
There have long been suggestions in the medical profession that these sleep aids may be helpful in slowing or stalling Alzheimer’s, but there has not been much research to support these claims.
38 healthy volunteers between the ages of 45 and 65 were gathered by Washington University researchers for a two-night sleep study. Suvorexant was administered to two of the participant groups—who were divided into three groups—while the third received a placebo.
“Amyloid levels dropped 10% to 20% in the cerebrospinal fluid of people who had received the high dose of suvorexant compared to people who had received placebo, and the levels of a key form of tau known as hyperphosphorylated tau dropped 10% to 15%, compared to people who had received placebo,” the researchers reported.
There is statistical significance for both differences. People who received a modest dose of suvorexant did not significantly differ from those who received the placebo.