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Poor sleep, low blood oxygen levels linked to brain abnormalities associated with dementia

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(NaturalNews) Constantly stressed about something that prevents you from getting a decent night's sleep? Rather watch a late-night movie in bed than snooze? People may want to rethink these habits, as their brain health depends on it. More importantly, those who suffer from health conditions that prevent them from sleeping well may want to pay attention to the latest findings.

Turns out, elderly individuals who get less than adequate levels of sleep have been found to develop changes in the brain which closely mimics brain changes experienced by dementia patients. The finding was discovered by researchers from the Veterans Administration in Hawaii who assessed 167 men who engaged in sleep tests, then died an average of six years thereafter. Autopsies searched for micro infarcts, or changes in brain tissue, which appear more frequently in people who have poor sleeping habits mostly due to emphysema or sleep apnea. It was discovered that those individuals who had such brain tissue changes had lower blood oxygen levels, something linked to the development of dementia.(1)

Low blood oxygen levels during sleep linked to brain abnormalities

The findings were based on breakdowns of groups of people who slept and who also had lower than normal blood oxygen levels. Ultimately, it was found that those who spent 71 to 99 percent of their sleep time with low oxygen levels were almost four times as likely to have brain damage. The bottom line was that those who spent most of their sleeping time without high levels of oxygen were more prone to having brain abnormalities.(1)

"These findings suggest that low blood oxygen levels and reduced slow wave sleep may contribute to the processes that lead to cognitive decline and dementia," said study author Rebecca P. Gelber, MD, DrPH, of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii.(1)

While she adds that additional research is necessary to explore links between slow wave sleep, low blood oxygen levels and brain function restoration as it pertains to possible dementia risk reduction, this particular study yields interesting findings. It's important too, to note that slow wave sleep is essential when it comes to processing new memories and remembering factual details. Considering that people typically remain in slow wave sleep as they grow older, it makes sense that brain cells can be negatively impacted in a manner associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.(1)

The findings were published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Titled "Associations of brain lesions at autopsy with polysomnography features before death," it provides the details of the study, including length of sleeping time, oxygen saturation and apnea duration among Japanese American men in Honolulu, Hawaii.(2)

Causes for low blood oxygen levels, best foods to improve levels

According to experts, causes of low oxygen in the blood range from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and anemia to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary fibrosis and congenital heart disease.(3)

To help boost oxygen levels in the blood, it's advised to eat a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat and sodium, along with high amounts of fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. Bananas and leafy green vegetables are a couple of healthy choices to consider.(4)


(1) https://www.aan.com

(2) http://www.neurology.org

(3) http://www.livestrong.com

(4) http://www.livestrong.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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