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Sleeping Less Accelerates the Brain's Aging Process

Update Date: Jul 01, 2014 11:21 PM EDT

Not getting enough sleep rots the brain. New research on older people suggests that not getting enough sleep could significantly accelerate the brain's aging process.

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) said the latest findings suggest that the latest findings might led to more studies on how not getting enough sleep increases the risk cognitive decline and dementia.

Previous studies on sleep duration and cognitive functions reveal that seniors who show faster brain ventricle enlargement are more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. Researchers in the latest study wanted to measure how sleep influences these the rate of brain ventricle enlargement.

The latest study, which involved 66 older Chinese adults who participated in the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study, found that participants who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

"Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging," lead researcher Dr. June Lo, Duke-NUS Research Fellow, said in a news release.

"Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years we hope to determine what's good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too," seniors author Professor Michael Chee, Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS, said in a news release.

The findings are published in the journal SLEEP.

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