Skip to comments.Study: Elderly Memory Loss Due to Lack of Deep Sleep
Posted on 01/29/2013 1:01:23 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Slow waves are generated by the middle frontal lobe, and as this region deteriorates with age, the elderly tend to lose the ability to experience long REM sleep
University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found a connection between the amount of sleep one gets in their old age and the quality of their memory.
The UC Berkeley team, led by Matthew Walker, believes that forgetfulness in old age may be attributed to a lack of deep, non-rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep.
According to the study, the slow brain waves produced during deep REM sleep help move memories from the hippocampus (short-term memory storage in the brain) to the prefrontal cortex (long-term memory in the brain) while we are young. But as we grow older, memories tend to get trapped in the hippocampus because we receive less REM sleep.
Also, these slow waves are generated by the middle frontal lobe, and as this region deteriorates with age, the elderly tend to lose the ability to experience long REM sleep.
What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue, said Walker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley.
The study took a look at 18 healthy young adults in their 20s and 15 healthy older adults in their 70s. Before going to bed, all participants learned 120 word sets. They then went to sleep while an electroencephalographic (EEG) machine measured their brain waves.
In the morning, all participants were tested on their word sets once again while both functional and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans were conducted.
The team found that the elderly participants had a 75 percent lower quality of deep sleep than the younger crowd, and their memory with the word sets was 55 percent lower too. The study noted that the younger participants had a longer deep sleep, which helped with the memory sets.
Source: UC Berkeley
Scientists must be suffering from short term memory loss themselves as it wasn’t long ago that short term memory loss was due to watching too much internet porn.
Guess my problem is not getting enough sleep from watching too much internet porn . . . sigh.
Berkley? Them being stoned couldn’t have anything to do with it, right? Naw...
God Help me. I’m going to be completely senile by the age of 55 if this is true. I am a very light sleeper.
Two vodkas at bedtime gives me a solid seven hours.
Okay, I give-up. Which is it?
Progesterone comes with a lot of bad side effects..............
Are you taking Progesterone every day? Is that safe?
Do a search-—many side affects.
This is a rare study where they seem to get the cause and effect right. Half the time in the “studies” they mix up what caused what.
I take progesterone 4 days then switch to melatonin for 3 days. That works for me. I use compounded bioidentical progesterone in a low dose (50mg) and it is very safe. I used it continuously for the first couple of years but now I don’t need it everyday anymore.
Bioidentical progesterone is not the problem in the studies. The chemical composition does matter. Progestins are not progesterone.
You can never depend on a news story writer to faithfully convey the full merit of a study. However, the cited experiment would seem to demonstrate correlation, but not necessarily causation.
A good follow-up, which they may very well have done, would seem to be to take these same young folks in the study and see how their short term memory responded to having their REM sleep disturbed.
I also did not see the relationship between the ability to learn and the long term memory loss that I see in myself as I age. In particular, my memory problems relate to searching my long term memory. I have trouble recalling names of people, objects, and concepts. This study seemed to focus on processing short term memory.
Didn’t I read about this yesterday...? Maybe not...I don’t know...
A bottle of wine or a few beers will get ya some good REM sleep too.
Yeah, I sure do miss good, deep sleep now that I am a senior. Was a time, I could sleep through a very loud alarm clock. Now, I do not even need one.
God Help me. Im going to be completely senile by the age of 55 if this is true.
Well, if it’s any consolation to you, I am 66, never get a good night’s sleep, and, so far, I have no memory problems. I have always been pretty good at memorizing, and, I have not lost that ability yet.
The article is interesting from two viewpoints, first....
Oh, never mind.
Both excellent and stupid stuff originated from Berkley.
Adhering to the Earth clock is probably the biggest problem.
I had three aunties live into their late 90s. If one of them got particularly cranky, I would buy her a box of Depends and tell her to "take a vacation" -- just to be able to lie in bed without getting up three times a night and finding the cane so she could toddle to the bathroom in the dark.
Melatonin gave me disturbing dreams.
You responded to this almost a year later! For a second I thought I was losing it, as I hadn’t remembered the original post.
It must have been a memorable thread, because someone else linked to it on a current thread about older people’s memory issues! And they remembered it — LOL!!