Scientists Establish Link Between Having to Wake Up at Night to Pee and Dementia

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In Europe and the United States, dementia is the third-most common cause of death, behind only circulatory diseases and cancer.

It’s been argued that interrupting sleep cycles disrupts the brain’s own cleaning process, which was likened to a washing machine.

The nightly urge to urinate may be bad news, as it may be an indicator of increased risk of developing dementia, a joint study by Aarhus University in Denmark and Stanford University in the US has concluded, having assessed the records of 1.4 million men in Denmark over a ten-year-stretch.

The study’s initial focus group was men over the age of 60 with a benign prostate enlargement, who typically have to get up multiple times during the night to urinate. The researchers found that this particular group had a 21 percent higher risk of developing dementia than their peers without this tendency to urinate more often.

Likewise, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease grows by 16 percent, the newspaper BT reported.

The study’s authors ventured that the gaps in the night’s sleep are bad news as it can lead to an accumulation of waste products in the brain, as the repeated presence of the protein fragment beta-amyloid in the affected men’s brains suggested.

The study likened nightly sleep to brain’s own washing machine. Meningeal fluid flushes the glymphatic system, leaving via nerves and lymph vessels and taking the waste products away with it. Interruption of the sleep cycles disrupts the cleaning process and encumbers the system with waste products.

“As I see it, the figures point to the importance of helping these men get as cohesive a night’s sleep as possible – not least to protect them as best as possible from developing dementia”, Professor Mette Nørgaard of Aarhus University, one of the study’s authors, told BT.

According to her, the same group of women is also suspected to run an increased risk of dementia. Her colleagues will now start investigating possible links between dementia and irregular night sleep in women who also tend to get up frequently at night to urinate.

In Europe and the United States, dementia is the third most common cause of death behind circulatory diseases and cancer.


Riccardo Bosi of Australia One gives a warning that the entire world needs to hear.

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