-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Poor sleep is tied to
a higher risk of mental decline in older men, according to a new
It included more than 2,800 men, average age 76, in six
locations across the United States. Sleep data was collected from
the men through a wrist device for an average of five nights, and
participants underwent tests to assess their attention and
Executive function includes planning, making decisions,
correcting errors, troubleshooting and abstract thinking.
The researchers found that higher levels of poor sleep quality
were associated with a 40 percent to 50 percent increased risk of
significant decrease in executive function, similar in degree to
the effect of a five-year increase in age. Length of sleep did not
affect the men's mental skills, according to the study published in
the April issue of
"It was the quality of sleep that predicted future cognitive decline in this study, not the quantity," lead author Terri Blackwell, senior statistician at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, said in a journal news release.
"With the rate of [mental] impairment increasing and the high prevalence of sleep problems in the elderly, it is important to determine prospective associations with sleep and cognitive decline," Blackwell added.
The study did not find a cause-and-effect relationship between
poor sleep and mental decline in older men, just an
The mechanisms that link poor sleep to mental decline aren't
known, and further research is needed to determine if this
association remains after a longer follow-up period, the study
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provided
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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