"Breaking" news for sound older minds
The darker side of sleep-sawing
It has been a while since I've written about the importance of good sleep - and today there are some timely news items that give me an opportunity to remind you of this core component of good health
I've said a million times (at least) that a restful night's sleep pays healthy dividends in a thousand different ways. And I'm not just talking about the sheer hours spent in slumber. A lot of people think that if their eyes are closed for 8 hours, they're doing all they can to get good sleep. This isn't always true, especially for snorers.
Snoring may seem harmless, but sometimes it signifies medical conditions that are far from innocuous - or can lead to them over time
According to a recent article in the UK Daily Mail, researchers at Britain's Leeds University have concluded that years of heavy snoring could be causing ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE among many of those over 65 afflicted with the condition. The reason: Oxygen deprivation.
Few people seem to know this, but heavy snoring - especially if related to a disorder called sleep apnea - can cause dangerously low levels of blood oxygen. The Leeds scientists have linked this oxygen deprivation to dementia.
Interestingly enough, the snoring correlation appears to have been one that was accidentally discovered. The research was originally aimed at studying how the oxygen deprivation associated with things like strokes, angina, heart attacks, and emphysema affected the development of Alzheimer's
The article's sources claim that heavy snorers are more than twice as likely to be men as women. This does NOT correlate with the numbers on the development of Alzheimer's, which affects women at a slightly higher rate than men when adjusted for age (women live longer, and therefore account for many more cases than men in raw terms).
However, if this research is right in concluding the oxygen deprivation can be a major contributing factor to Alzheimer's, you may want to take some measures to stop snoring just in case. I'll give you all the details in the next Daily Dose.
But speaking of senior citizens' mental states
Depressing to the (brittle) bones
Lots of people (especially my readers) know all about the risks of antidepressant drugs for teens and young adults. But I'll bet the downsides of these drugs for the elderly aren't nearly as well known. Here's just one of them
According to the Archives of Internal Medicine and other sources, a pair of American studies have concluded that certain drugs within the most popular class of antidepressants (SSRIs like Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac) can contribute to a higher risk of osteoporosis in both men and women.
Both an Oregon Health and Sciences University study of nearly 6000 men over 65 and a University of Minnesota study of over more than 2700 women with an average age of 80 found that hip fractures were measurably more common among those taking SSRIs
As it turns out, the same protein that carries a chemical these drugs inhibit in the brain (serotonin) also exists in high concentrations in the bones. Clearly, inhibiting it in the whole body - which is what happens with anti-depressant taking - makes one's bones more prone to breakage.
No studies have yet concluded whether or not this is as depressing to someone on Prozac as it would be for an un-medicated senior citizen