“It is possible to predict which children will get Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in adulthood” according to a scientific study

Persistent nightmares that occur around age seven of a child ‘s life could predict the development of dementia later in life, according to the latest study:

A longitudinal study from the University of Birmingham , which followed 7,000 people from birth to age 50, found that those who suffered from persistent nightmares as children were twice as likely to develop dementia later on. They have also been found to be seven times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease . Scientists have stated that nightmares in early childhood disturb sleep, as a result of which harmful proteins accumulate in the brain, which can be the cause of dementia, writes Jutarnji  . Reducing the likelihood of a child having nightmares, by leaving a small night light on, sleeping with a soft toy for comfort, or a gentle daily bedtime routine,it can have multiple benefits for a child’s brain development. Scientists have long known that nightmares in middle or old age can be a warning sign of cognitive decline.

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But this study, published on the science platform eClinicalMedicine , suggests the connection between the two can be traced back to early childhood. The Birmingham researchers analyzed data from the 1958 Birth Cohort Study and followed children born in the week after March 3, 1958, for the next 50 years, through 2008. When the children were seven and 11 years old, they asked their mothers if, in the last three months, their children have suffered from nightmares, or so-called nightmares:

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Children whose parents reported that their children had nightmares during both periods were labeled as having persistent nightmares. The children were then observed through 2008 to see if any of them had been diagnosed with dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Of the 7,000 people surveyed in the study, 268 — or four percent — had persistent nightmares in childhood. Of these, 17 – or six percent – developed some type of cognitive impairment or Parkinson’s disease by age 50. By comparison, among the 5,470 people who didn’t have nightmares, only 199 – or 3.6 percent – subsequently suffered from dementia.

During the analysis, the results were adjusted for gender, the mother’s age at the time of the child’s birth, number of siblings, and several other factors. The results showed that those who had persistent nightmares had a 76% higher risk of developing cognitive difficulties and even a 640% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The results were similar for both girls and boys. It is not fully understood why nightmares are a warning sign for the subsequent development of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. However, some previous studies have linked it to changes in brain structure that put some at higher risk of developing cognitive disease.

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Other studies have suggested that those who have nightmares have very poor sleep quality, which could lead to a gradual buildup of dementia-related proteins. Abidemi Otaiku , the neurologist who led the study , says the issue could also be genetic because a particular gene, called PTPRJ, is associated with bad dreams and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer ‘s disease .

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“Our findings suggest that frequent bad dreams and nightmares in childhood may increase the risk of developing progressive brain diseases such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease later in life.” This also raises the intriguing possibility that reducing the frequency of nightmares in early childhood may be an early opportunity to prevent the development of both diseases, ” she says. “If we know that bad dreams in childhood can signal a higher risk of dementia or Parkinson’s disease later in life, there may be an opportunity to implement simple strategies to reduce these risks.”Otaiku said. Dementia is a term for several forms of cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of this disease.

Scientists don’t know exactly what causes dementia, but it’s linked to a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain. About seven million Americans have dementia, but that number is projected to rise to 12 million by 2040. More and more cases of obesity, diabetes, and a generally sedentary lifestyle are also linked to the rise in cases.

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#Parkinson #Alzheimer’s #kids

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