C10: Alzheimer's Disease

            This what I researched: Does the practice of sleeping with the head partially or fully covered by blankets have any impact on the occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease? The following research which I completed shows that there is a significant relationship.

             It has been the practice of many to sleep with their head under the covers. Approximately 20 to 25% (my numbers generated through the survey) of individuals will partially or fully cover their heads while sleeping. About 10% sleep fully under the covers. It has always been assumed that sufficient air filters through the bedding ensuring sufficient oxygen supply. But that is an assumption that needs to be reconsidered. Is it possible that under heavy thick bedding over an extended period of time the content of oxygen will be depleted over the course of the night through rebreathing (the breathing of the same air over and over), and that this depletion causes some level of hypoxia, the lack of oxygen to brain cells? Hypoxia is considered to cause an increase in A-beta proteins, and it is this accumulation of A-beta proteins which has been considered as a significant marker of AD.

            To study this possibility, I completed a survey comparing the occurrence of AD against the practice of sleeping with the head partially or fully covered by bedding. The results indicate that there appears to be a significant positive causal relationship. Those who suffer AD practice sleeping with their head covered to a much higher extent than those who don’t.

            The following demonstrates this higher occurrence of sleeping with head covered for those who experienced AD. The data indicates the percentages of those who practice head covering while sleeping.

Stats of those who sleep with their head covered while sleeping:

Lucidity

All submissions

Ages 20 and older

60 and older

70 and older

80 and older

Lucid

24.2%

21.9%

17.4%

23.5%

Early Stage AD

32.4%

37.3%

39.1%

34.8%

Middle Stage AD

47.1%

53.6%

47.6%

57.1%

Late Stage AD

47.5%

48.2%

47.2%

52.9%

 

            It is clear from these numbers that those who suffer any level of AD practice sleeping with their head covered about twice as much as those who remain lucid.

            This data projected that for those 60 and older approximately 16.4% of AD can be considered as caused solely by the practice of sleeping with their head covered. Applying the data to those 70 and older, the percent is 11.3%. This suggests that sleeping with the head covered directly causes approximately 13% - 14% of all cases of AD. 

To achieve these numbers the percentage of those who suffer AD but who sleep uncovered is applied to those who suffer AD but who do sleep covered. The difference is then applied to all those who suffer AD. Of course these are just numbers. I could have applied this same procedure to those 50 and older, 80 and older, just 60, just 70, and so on, achieving some higher and some lower results. However, I felt that those 60 and older or 70 and older would be a good representative. 

            The methodology of this survey was to invite those who were searching the Internet (Google and Bing) for information on AD to complete a short survey. This survey queried their level of lucidity (from lucid to late-stage AD) relative to their sleeping practice (various levels of covering the head while sleeping: from never, to occasional partial cover, to frequent complete covering). The scope of this survey was not expected to be definitive, but to discover whether there might be a relationship; and that if there appeared to be a relationship, further studies could be undertaken under more strict controls. I believe the results of this survey of over 500 submissions suggest strongly that there is a significant relationship between sleeping with one’s head covered and the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are indeed warranted.

            There are a number of causes of AD (early-onset AD which is genetic in nature, head injuries, poor circulation, inflammation, and yet other undiscovered causes). It is important to add sleeping practices to that story.

            This would be an important discovery since a drug-free, cost-free change in behaviour may result in the avoidance of this disease for millions of individuals, not to mention that considerable societal savings could be realized. Also, it would be important to discover whether a change in sleeping practices later in life would avoid the disease, delay the onset of the disease, or slow its progress once suffered.

            The percentage of women practicing some level of head covering was approximately 47%, while for men it was only 33%. This difference could account for a significant portion of the reason why women more than men suffer AD. But only part of the narrative. I have not researched this but it is my generalization that women spend more time reading, while men spend more time physically active. Don't attack me on this; it's just an assumption that may help define the cause of why women suffer more than men. This lack of physical activity on the part of women, and continued physical activity on the part of men relative to women, may account for a significant portion of the cause for the higher incidence of AD in women. Physical exercise has often been considered as one of the most effective ways to delay the onset of the disease. It's that simple, and nothing to do with genetics!

            There has often been considered a link between learning disabilities ("cognitive dysfunction" by one of many of other descriptors) and Alzheimer's. Browse to my chapter 12 on learning disabilities, which shows even a more significant relationship to this sleeping practice. Depleted rebreathing, caused by sleeping with the head covered, may be the observed link between AD and learning disabilities.

           Does an accidental occurrence of depleted rebreathing in the first months of birth (causing neurological damage) result in AD later in life? I believe so, but there is no way of testing this. Therefore there may be many cases of AD who don't sleep under the covers but suffered neurological damage at birth due to depleted rebreathing. For now, this is just a theory. 

            So if you take anything from reading my work, please stop the practice of sleeping with your head fully or partially under the covers. Always ensure that your mouth and nose is exposed to a circulation of fresh air. Please tell others to stop the practice. Millions of individuals can avoid Alzheimer’s by this simple change in practice, which will enhance their lives, extend their lives, not to mention eliminate a large part of the hardship and cost of caring for those who have Alzheimer’s.

          In January 2017, the news came out with a report of a study that showed that there is an increased incidence of Alzheimer's for individuals who live close to heavy traffic. And, of course, they jump to the conclusion that it has to do with the pollution caused by the vehicles. They probably aren't aware that there are almost identical studies that show that there is an increased incidence of autism and learning disabilities for individuals who live close to traffic and pollution. Unfortunate these researchers hadn't read my conclusion that it was the noise that caused the individuals to bury their heads under their covers while sleeping, and that it was depleted rebreathing that resulted in the higher incidence of these outcomes. That's my take.

         Is the cause of AD genetic? For those who suffer early-onset AD, these are all considered as genetic, as they run in families. It is considered that late-onset AD (the vast majority of cases) are also genetic in part, or genetic and environmental. They make this assumption from twins studies, where if one identical twin gets AD, there is a 65% probability that the other identical twin will also suffer AD. For fraternal twins this percentage drops down to about 22%. Twins studies are often used to determine a genetic cause. But I disagree. If you read my chapter on The Twins Misdirection you will understand how I come to that conclusion. When you realize that 75% of identical twins share the same placenta, which is a significant risk, then you have to assume that much of that 65% is due to complications of the pregnancy. My belief is that some neurological damage that occurred before, during, or after birth leads to the possibility of suffering AD and other outcomes, but that diet and exercise (and proper sleeping practices), for the most part, can avoid its progress.

I have nothing to sell, but to offer some easy advice and perhaps some hope, if you think you might come down with AD:
1. Always sleep with lots of fresh air to breathe, never under the covers.
2. With consultation from your doctor, use anti-inflammatories to reduce any inflammation.
3. Exercise every day, even getting a treadmill if that helps.
4. Try new physical activities, like dance or TaiChi. Take up a new sport. Join a choir.
5. Write your own biography, preferably online (lots of free websites and blogs available). This will refresh your past memories and leave a legacy to your kids and grandkids. Your past stories are valuable to them. Challenge yourself to learn how to work with websites, adding pictures to your narrative. You might surprise yourself.
6. This is a new consideration with regards to inflammation. Consider marijuana. Some recent studies of medical weed show excellent results in reducing inflammation. If you have sleeping difficulties, use indica, as this helps with sleep and inflammation. Weed has shown some recent results at repairing the brains of those with opioid addiction. 

Please let me know whether this information was useful to you.

Please share with others who may benefit from this research.