Alzheimer's signs: Constant daytime fatigue can be a warning sign

Alzheimer's signs: Constant daytime fatigue can be a warning sign

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Daytime sleepiness as a warning sign of Alzheimer's?

If you suffer from fatigue more often during the day and therefore need to take a nap more often, this could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer's.

The latest study by the University of California, San Francisco found that people who napped frequently during the day were at increased risk of Alzheimer's. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Alzheimer & Dementia".

Dew triggers Alzheimer's?

The researchers explain that the brain cells that keep us awake during the day are among the first cells in the brain to be affected by the neurological disease. Previously, cells were thought to be destroyed by a protein called beta-amyloid, but recent studies have concluded that the trigger is a toxic lump of a protein called tau.

Fatigue occurs years before memory problems

The results of the current investigation could contribute to an earlier diagnosis and possibly better treatments for Alzheimer's. If people regularly take a nap during the day, this indicates Alzheimer's long before memory problems begin to develop, the researchers report.

Should treatments target dew in the future?

For the study, the brain of 13 deceased people who had Alzheimer's at the time of death was analyzed. The researchers found that the three regions of the brain that promote vigilance, locus coeruleus, lateral hypothalamus and tuberomammillary nucleus, had lost up to 75 percent of their neurons. There was also a significant accumulation of tau proteins. The results are significant because they could lead to better treatments by targeting tau instead of beta amyloid, the researchers report.

Different brain regions degenerate in Alzheimer's

It is noteworthy that not only a single brain region degenerates, but the entire network that promotes vigilance. It is crucial that the brain has no way of compensating for this, since all these functionally related cell types are destroyed at the same time, the research group explains

Are Alzheimer's Medicines Administered Too Late?

Alzheimer's can be up to 20 years before the first obvious symptoms appear and existing medications are believed to fail because they are given to patients far too late. In the early stages of the disease, the signs can be subtle and initially very mild. However, over time, they become more pronounced until they begin to affect a person's daily life.

Effects of Alzheimer's

Although there are common symptoms, they are unique from person to person in people diagnosed with Alzheimer's. However, for most people, the earliest sign is memory loss. If the disease progresses and begins to seriously affect a person's life, this can manifest itself, for example, in the loss of keys and other everyday items. Affected persons also have difficulty finding words in conversations and forget complete conversations and events, such as anniversaries, birthdays or important dates. In addition, sick people get lost in places that are actually familiar to them.

Of course, memory problems are the most common signs of dementia, but there are other not so well known and clear indications. These include, for example, language problems, frequent repetition in conversations, problems climbing stairs or parking the car, and general difficulties in making decisions and finding solutions. Sick people often also lose track of what day or date is. Other signs include depressed, irritable, and anxious people who withdraw more and more and are no longer interested in hobbies and other activities that they had previously enjoyed. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more severe and in some cases people even experience hallucinations and delusions. Many people affected also develop behaviors that appear unusual or atypical. This can include sleep disorders and aggression, for example. If the disease worsens, a person will need more and more help to do their daily chores and eventually need constant care. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Jun Oha, Rana A. Esera, Alexander J. Ehrenberga, Dulce Moralesa, Cathrine Petersena et al .: Profound degeneration of wake-promoting neurons in Alzheimer's disease, in Alzheimer & Dementia (query 14.08.2019), Alzheimer & Dementia

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