Sleep deprivation can lead to Alzheimer’s: Expert

Hamirpur(HP), Sep 21(FN Agency) Research on Alzheimer’s patients has shown that sound sleep for seven to eight hours every day is absolutely essential. Sleep is the time for restorative activity for the body and mind; the brain cleanses itself of the abnormal proteins beta-amyloid and tau that are created due to high metabolic activity. Sleep deprivation in the long run accumulates these abnormal chemicals and turns detrimental for brain health leading to Alzheimer’s, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Executive Member, Indian Academy of Neurosciences. Sharing his concern on the rise in Alzheimer’s cases in the country, Principal Investigator for the Association of Studies for Mental Care, Purohit told UNI here after virtually addressing a webinar on “Battle against Dementia”. Organised by Maharishi Markandeshwar University Medical College, Solan on the occassion of World Alzheimer’s Day, the discussion raised concerns over the fact that India is on the cusp of a dementia epidemic with dementia patients projected to spike from the 44 lakh at present to over one crore by 2050. Incidentally, this surge can be ascribed to the growth in our geriatric population as India moves closer to becoming the world’s most populous country, surpassing even China. He said that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the neuro- degenerative diseases and accounts for 60 to 70 per cent cases of dementia.

Usually the disease starts slowly and turns towards worse in due course of time. “One of the most common symptoms is the memory loss, even about the recent events. This is known as short term memory loss syndrome. “With the advancement of the problem, symptoms of trouble with the loss of motivation, language, mood swing, easily getting lost, issues with behavior and taking self-care etc. are seen among the affected persons,” he said.Purohit also Advisor for National Mental Health Programme averred that in Alzheimer’s patients the ability to switch from a state of wandering mind to attentiveness, breaks down leading to memory lapses and disorientation He cautioned that there is no cure or medicine till date for this ailment and therefore it is important to take steps to delay the onset of the disease. He pointed that medical research has established conclusively that smoking and excess sugar is harmful for the body but it is big risk factor for developing dementia as well. Interestingly, factors that are linked to the onset of diabetes such as obesity, stress are also the factors that are likely to lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia, he added.

Experts explained that a healthy diet is another indispensable factor on how to delay the onset of neurological age related condition like Alzheimer’s. They proposed following a Mediterranean diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. They added that seafood and eating eggs thrice a week while avoiding red meat, processed foods, white flour, help not only in preventing dementia but also heart disease. Experts revealed that focussed activity such as practising meditation for a sustained period of time, changes the brain structures and helps patients with memory-related disorders. “People need to do something that will challenge their brain and make one feel wanted,” experts said. They emphasised that half an hour of physical exercise everyday whether it be yoga or even walking is a non- negotiable. Such activities help to maintain fitness of not just of the body but also that of the mind. They averred that keeping the mind active be it through problem solving, crossword or even learning languages helps immensely. Social interactions, taking part in clubs and associations, doing charity work especially to keep the mind engaged after retirement is crucial. Experts clarified that being on WhatsApp and engaging in Instagram is not social interaction.