Sleep, School And Your Risk Of Getting Dementia

in Grab Bag/Life/Weird Health by

As we get on in years, a lot of us worry about the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. My friends and I have all started taking fish oil, doing our crossword puzzles and taking regular walks.

NO one wants to run the risk of the terrible losses that go with developing dementia. But what are the predictors of the condition? What can younger people do to protect themselves as much as possible?

One new study is shedding some interesting light on the topic. Researchers looked at patients who were involved in the longest running study of disease development, the Framingham Heart Study.

More than 2,400 people over the age of 65 answered questions about sleep habits and about their levels of education. The results were then compared to how those people did ten years after answering the questionnaire.

Researchers found a direct correlation between level of education and the likelihood of developing some form of dementia. Those who failed to graduate from high school had a higher risk of getting a dementia diagnosis later. Researchers think that one of the benefits of education may be that having an active mind protects against dementia.

They also reported that those people who reported sleeping more than nine hours a night had a much higher risk of dementia. They were careful to say that they don’t believe too much sleep causes dementia.

Instead, they believe that the need for extra sleep might be one early symptom of the disease. They encourage people who are caring for older family members to pay attention to any increased need for sleep.

The most striking piece of data from the study was the fact that those who hadn’t graduated from high school and slept more than nine hour a night had a whopping 600 percent increase in the likelihood of getting dementia. Yikes.

While older folk can’t go back and finish high school, this sure seems like a good argument we can all use to keep our kids and grandkids in school.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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