Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coffee, Alzheimer's and sleeping.

Sleep and Alzheimer's:

Researchers studied levels of amyloid beta — a protein that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s — in mice genetically engineered to have a version of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid levels rose in the brain when the mice were awake, and fell when they slept. When the researchers prevented the mice from sleeping, it made matters worse [Reuters - via ]. Sleep deprivation accelerated the formation of plaques made of amyloid beta, they found.

Amyloid beta, N60.. now RanBP9 protein.. so complex.

My father goes with the theory that genes are everything. And currently they are too complex and intertwined for us to be able to deal with... With the one key exception of no smoking (no drinking is not on the list!), he tends to feel that no matter what else you do (sleep patterns, eating habits, vitamins, anti-oxidants, coffee, dark chocolate, etc.. ) you're at the mercy of your genes, within a year or two of your life, either way.

Quality of life is a bit different... a fairly recent study revealed a very strong correlation between waist size and glucose intolerance. Glucose intolerance, or insulin resistance is when your body starts to become desensitized to absorbing sugars... this directly results in increased insulin production (higher blood glucose level - body compensation), increased blood fatty acids, continual decrease in muscular sugar uptake, type 2 diabetes and eventual cardio disease. Basically, keep your waist under 1 meter (39 inches). Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent...

So, back to Alzheimer's. Today is National Coffee Day (yeah, wtf... ). Coffee has also been shown to have positive effects (5 cups! no problem!) on Alzheimer's, reducing the same amyloid beta said to be reduced during sleep. There now seem to be so many different factors being exposed with either helping or hurting your chances with Alzheimer's.. More? Sex, fruits, vegetables, calorie intake, headaches, even being read to as a child! Basically, type in Alzheimer's in google along with any random word, and you'll get some hits. There is a ton of money in Alzheimer's right now. Anyway, seems like just about everything we do has an effect, and it seems to all average out in the end... so maybe dad was right..

Also, who wants more sleep?! I wish I had this:

Gene mutation reduces required sleep

of course, if you wanted to go even further with the connections, try this:

How age changes your sleep..

"When we're little, we have a lot of very high, slow brain waves at the beginning of the night," Carskadon says. "And that seems to be the best, most restorative kind of sleep."

But as the decades go by, these peaks diminish. If adolescent brain waves are the Himalayas, then by early adulthood, they're Rocky Mountain peaks. And in the elderly: think Appalachians or just foothills.

As we age, it's easier to wake us, Carskadon explains, "because those high, slow waves are very protective for disturbances in the environment" — things such as a snoring partner, or a barking dog. "

Basically, you can't win. And yeah, I realize I'm a bit all over the map on this post... it's just too easy to continue with the Connections (torrent!).