MSN: Study finds taking sleeping pills could raise risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found older adults who frequently take sleeping medications including Benzos, Ambien and antidepressants may increase their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia. 

The University of Cincinnati's Rhonna Shatz, DO, adjunct associate professor, division director for behavioral neurology, Bob and Sandy Heimann Endowed Chair in research and education in Alzheimer's disease in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine and a UC Health physician, was not involved in the study and commented on it for MSN and Seasons.

Shatz said there are several reasons why sleeping medication could increase the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, including that people who take these medications have a different unidentified sleeping disorder like sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea prevents normal sleep cycle progression into deep sleep, the stage where certain neurodegenerative proteins are cleared by the brain's glymphatic system, she said.

“Over many years, the accumulation of these proteins will trigger changes that lead to progressive neuronal loss and its accompanying cognitive decline,” Shatz said. 

Read the MSN story, originally published on Seasons.

Featured photo at top courtesy of iStock.

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