Prolific dreamers less likely to get dementia, study finds

How we sleep gives us clues about whether we may develop conditions like dementia in the future.

Are you someone who experiences vivid dreams fairly regularly? If so, new research has found there's an upside...
A recent study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine discovered that people who dream a lot when sleeping are less likely to develop dementia.
The results, published by Neurology, suggest that for every one per cent reduction in a person's REM (rapid eye movement) - a phase of sleep where brain activity is higher and there is a natural tendency towards dreaming – the person has nine per cent more chance of developing dementia, and an eight per cent greater chance of developing Alzheimer's. This means that those who dream are less likely to develop either.
The study entailed examining the sleeping patterns of 321 people over the age of 60, before following them for the next 12 years.
"Different stages of sleep may differentially affect key features of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr Matthew Pase, who led the research.
'Our findings implicate REM sleep mechanisms as predictors of dementia.'
Dementia is a syndrome which occurs as a result of brain decline and a decrease in the brain's abilities. Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulty controlling emotions, disorientation with surroundings and finding the organisation of tasks and activities problematic. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease and it effects one in 14 people over the age of 65.
For further information about Alzheimer's and dementia, visit www.dementia.nz and www.alzheimers.org.nz
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