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Frequent daily fatigue can indicate Alzheimer's disease

Daytime sleepiness as a warning sign for Alzheimer's disease?

If you suffer more from fatigue during the day and often need naps, this could be an early warning sign for Alzheimer's.

A current study at the University of California, San Francisco found that people who sleep frequently during the day are at increased risk of Alzheimer's. The results of the study were published in the English journal "Alzheimer & Dementia".

Frequent daily fatigue can indicate Alzheimer's disease 2
The need for short sleep during the day may indicate an increased risk of Alzheimer's. (Image: Andrey Popov /

Tau activates Alzheimer's disease?

The brain cells that keep us awake during the day are one of the first cells in the brain to be affected by a neurological disease, the researchers explain. Cells have previously been thought to destroy a protein called beta-amyloid, but recent studies have concluded that the trigger is a toxic buildup of a protein called tau.

Fatigue occurs years before memory problems

The results of the current study may contribute to earlier diagnosis and possibly better treatment of Alzheimer's disease. If people sleep regularly during the day, it indicates Alzheimer's, long before memory problems begin to develop, the researchers continued.

Should treatments target dew in the future?

For the study, the brain analyzed 13 deceased people who suffered from Alzheimer's at the time of death. The researchers found that three brain regions promoting wakefulness, the locus coeruleus, the lateral hypothalamus, and the tubromammillary nucleus lost up to 75 percent of their neurons. There was also a significant accumulation of tau protein. The results are significant because they could lead to better treatment by targeting tau instead of beta-amyloid, the researchers report.

Different brain regions degenerate into Alzheimer's disease

It is important to note that not only one region of the brain degenerates, but also the entire wake-promoting network. The key is that the brain has no way of making up for it because all these functionally related cell types are destroyed at the same time, the research group continues

Are Alzheimer's medications too late?

Alzheimer's disease can occur as early as 20 years before the first obvious symptoms appear, and it is believed that existing drugs are failing because they are given too late. In the early stages of the disease, the signs may be subtle and initially only mild. Over time, however, they become more pronounced until they begin to affect a person's daily life.

Effects of Alzheimer's Disease

Although there are common symptoms, these are unique to people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease from person to person. However, for most patients, the earliest sign is memory loss. For example, as a disease progresses and begins to seriously affect a person's life, it can be manifested by the loss of keys and other objects of daily use. Concerned people often have difficulty finding words in conversations and forget complete conversations and events, such as anniversaries, birthdays or important appointments. In addition, patients are lost in familiar places.

Of course, memory problems are the most common signs of dementia, but there are other, not so familiar and clear indications. These include, for example, problems with speech, frequent repetition of conversations, problems with climbing stairs or when parking a car, and general difficulty in making decisions and finding solutions to problems. Sick people often lose track of the day or date. Other signs are depressed, irritable, and anxious people, who are increasingly retiring and no longer interested in hobbies and other activities they previously enjoyed. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe, and in some cases, people even experience hallucinations and delusions. Many patients also develop behaviors that look unusual or atypical. This may include, for example, sleep disorders and aggression. As the disease gets worse, the person will need more and more help to complete their daily tasks and will eventually need constant care. (As)


  • June Oha, Early A. Esera, Alexander J. Ehrenberg, Dulce Morales, Cathrine Petersen, et al .: Deep degeneration of Awakening neurons in Alzheimer's disease, in Alzheimer's and dementia (inquiry 14 August 1919), Alzheimer's disease and dementia