Sleep disturbance: An emerging opportunity for Alzheimer's disease prevention?

Adam P. Spira, Rebecca F. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As the older segment of our population grows, cognitive decline and dementia will increase in prevalence, with Alzheimer's disease (AD) as the cause in most cases. Until a cure exists, prevention through the identification and manipulation of modifiable risk factors for dementia, in general, or AD, in particular, will be our only means of reducing dementia prevalence or delaying its onset. Furthermore, it is likely that eventual treatments for AD, when available, will depend on the ability to identify individuals at greatest risk for developing AD. Sleep disturbances are common in later life - roughly half of older adults experience regular insomnia (Ohayon, 2002) and about as many have some degree of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) (Ancoli-Israel et al., 1991) - and accumulating evidence suggests they may contribute to cognitive decline, at least in part, by promoting the development of AD pathology (Spira et al., 2014). Because they are treatable, sleep disturbances are an important potential target for ongoing study in AD prevention. Moreover, understanding the mechanisms underlying an effect of sleep on subsequent cognitive decline and AD would allow for better identification of opportunities and optimal timing for treatment of sleep disorders, and ultimately perhaps, AD prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-531
Number of pages3
JournalInternational psychogeriatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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