brain-aging2

Short duration of sleep linked to a faster aging brain in older adults.

A new study has found that shorter duration of sleep in older adults results in faster aging of the brain. Researchers at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS), who conducted the study, said that the research highlights the need for better sleep in older adults

A recent study had also found that little or disturbed sleep in older adults leads to poor brain function. Past research has shown that faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for mental health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Duke-NUS said that they have found how sleep is connected to a biological marker for mental problems in older adults.

The study was based on data from a small group of 66 old Chinese adults. The participants were enrolled in the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study and they underwent several MRI brain scans and cognitive tests over a two-year period.

Additionally, participants answered a questionnaire about their sleeping habits.

Researchers found that old people who slept for fewer hours had reduction in cognitive performance and faster ventricle enlargement.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” said Dr June Lo, the lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow.

“Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too,” added Professor Michael Chee, senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study is published in the journal SLEEP.