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Nap length linked to cognitive changes


No wonder we feel worse after naps

Some of us have hectic schedules that may make a nap feel more necessary. It’s common knowledge that naps shouldn’t be too long – maybe 20 minutes or so – but if you frequently take 3-hour naps and wake up thinking you’re late for school even though you’re 47 and have your PhD, this LOTME is for you.

Judith Shidlowsky/Pixabay

Studies have shown that there is a link between napping during the day and Alzheimer’s/cognitive decline, but now we’ve got a double whammy for you: Longer and more frequent napping is linked to worse cognition after a year, and in turn, those with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s are known to nap longer and more frequently during the day.

“We now know that the pathology related to cognitive decline can cause other changes in function,” he said. “It’s really a multisystem disorder, also including difficulty sleeping, changes in movement, changes in body composition, depression symptoms, behavioral changes, etc.,” coauthor Aron Buchman, MD, said in a statement from Rush University Medical Center.

The investigators monitored 1,400 patients over the course of 14 years with wrist bracelets that recorded when a person was not active during the day and considered that a nap.

At the beginning of the study, 75% of the study subjects had no cognitive impairment, 19.5% had some cognitive impairment, and approximately 4% had Alzheimer’s. Napping during the day only increased about 11 minutes a year for those with no signs of cognitive impairment, but those who showed significantly more signs of cognitive decline doubled their nap time and those actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s tripled theirs.

The investigators did not imply that napping causes Alzheimer’s, but they noted that people who are older and nap more than an hour a day are 40% more likely to be at risk. It is something to consider and monitor.

Sometimes, after all, a nap seems like the best idea ever, but more often than not we wake up feeling 10 times worse. Our bodies may be giving us a heads up.

Pokemon Go away depression

The summer of 2016 was a great time if you happened to be a fan of Pokemon. Which is quite a lot of people. For almost 20 years millions have enjoyed the games and animated series, but Pokemon Go brought the thrill of catching Pokemon to life in a whole new way. For the first time, you could go out into the world and pretend you were a real Pokemon trainer, and everywhere you went, there would be others like you.

Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

The ability to chase after Pikachu and Charizard in real life (well, augmented reality, but close enough) seemed to bring people a lot of joy, but seemed is never good enough for science. Can’t have anecdotes, we need data! So researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science conducted a study into how Pokemon Go affected local Internet search rates of depression as the game was released slowly around the world.

Through analyzing Google Trend data of words like “depression,” “anxiety,” and “stress,” the researchers found that the release of Pokemon Go was significantly associated with a noticeable, though short-term, drop in depression-related Internet searches. Location-based augmented reality games may alleviate symptoms of mild depression, the researchers said, as they encourage physical activity, face-to-face socialization, and exposure to nature, though they added that simply going outside is likely not enough to combat clinical cases of severe depression.

Still, augmented reality games represent a viable target for public health investment, since they’re easy to use and inexpensive to make. That said, we’re not sure we want the FDA or CDC making a new Pokemon Go game. They’d probably end up filling the streets with Mr. Mime. And no one would leave their house for that.


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