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Older Adults' Forgetfulness Tied To Faulty Brain Rhythms In Sleep - Related to ME/CFS sleep/cognition issues?

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Alvin, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  2. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Interesting.
     
  3. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Interesting, @Alvin. Though its hard to know what to make of it. I think the type of tasks they're using to measure memory involve a lot of different skills, so its unclear to me whether this is really about memory, or about the effect of good sleep on cognitive function more generally.

    There's a long running idea that sleep is important for "consolidating" memories encoded earlier in the day. But in actual fact, its incredibly hard to test if this is true. Sure, you can look at people's recall of the previous day's events after a good night's sleep versus an interrupted/shortened sleep. And sure enough the second group will be worse on most tasks (wouldn't you be?). So it could be a performance thing, rather than a memory thing.

    What makes it even more complicated is that memory isn't one thing, its lots of different things. There's memory for facts, and memory for experiences, and they rely on entirely different brain regions. Memories for experiences aren't all the same either. Some of our older ones have become "fact-like", and they're supported by the same systems as our memory for facts. I was a bit concerned that the article seemed to confuse these different types.
     
  4. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's the part about atrophy of an area of the brain involved in producing deep sleep that worries me. I hope that doesn't happen in ME. My sleep is terrible and I don't think I get much deep sleep.
     
  5. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    @Little Bluestem, if its any reassurance, the article is actually suggesting the opposite. That the brain atrophy causes the sleep problems, not that the sleep problems cause the atrophy.

    But not getting good sleep in general is a worry, I feel the same way too. There's quite a lot to be said for finding good sleep meds that work for you. I do think that people with really bad health problems - like us - often weigh the risks of taking sleep meds too highly and underestimate the benefits.
     
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  6. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am concerned that my sleep problems are an indication that my brain has atrophied.

    I have tried sleep meds, but they are better at keeping me asleep during the day than improving my sleep at night.
     
  7. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Oh, I see. Although there's no suggestion that every case of sleep disturbance is due to atrophy. Or even most cases. Just some.

    Sorry you've had no joy with sleep meds :(. I've found a happy combination that works well for me, and that has really made a difference to my life.
     
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  8. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Would you mind saying what? I know that everyone is different, but I like to know what works at least sometimes for some people.
     
  9. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Yes, sure. I should first say what my main sleep problem was: waking in the middle of the night. Usually hot and fluey. It would take hours to cool down enough to get back to sleep, and if I didn't get enough sleep before morning, I'd be in much more pain during the day.

    I now take half a zopiclone at night, and another half when I wake, around half way through the night. Plus panadol at bedtime and when I wake, whether I think I need it or not. I occasionally also use phenergan (bought OTC), usually one at bed time. I need 9 hours sleep these days to feel okay, and this combo does it for me.

    The regular zopiclone worries my doctor, because its supposed to be habit forming. But for me, the benefits to my pain levels and overall functionality are worth so much. I also love not having to go through those hours of just lying there in the middle of the night, thinking. Also, I've never found it necessary to increase the dose, and I haven't had a problem when at times I have run out (usually I use 2 phenergan on the first night, and then after that, all is back to what it was pre-zopiclone).

    Of course, its not a good idea to rely on drugs if you're normal and healthy. But I just think the equation is very different for us.

    As you say, its all very personal. Everyone has to make their own decision about how much to rely on drugs, and then each has to find out what medicine will actually for them - if any.
     
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