Assessing correlations with sleep problems and dementia risk: Ruth Benca, MD, PhD

WATCHING TIME: 3 minutes

“One of the things that still needs more data is the impact of treating sleep issues. Just because sleep is an early sign or a risk factor, we’re trying to understand how much of it is causal.”

For patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), common sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime waking, repeated wakings and waking too early in the morning, as well as drowsiness and frequent naps during the day. Sleep disturbance is one of many symptoms that can have a significant impact on the patient’s and caregiver’s quality of life. The literature has shown that AD accumulates gradually, with milder cognitive stages often preceding it, raising the question of the influence of sleep disturbances on this process and whether their treatment might have a direct impact on long-term risk.

Ruth Benca, MD, PhD, among the large group of clinicians in the field trying to better understand the correlations between sleep disorders and AD, notes that there are several factors to consider when assessing risk. of MA. Benca, professor and chair of psychiatry and human behavior at Wake Forest School of Medicine, presented at the 2022 Sleep Annual Meeting, June 4-8, in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the impact and management of sleep problems in patients with AD and their caregivers. Then she sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss the precursor sleep issues of AD, gender and race differences, and the critical need to treat sleep disorders as early as possible.

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