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A woman suffering from Alzheimer's desease looks at an old picture in a retirement house in Angervilliers, eastern France, March 18, 2011. Getty Images/SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP

Having disrupted sleep leads to increase in brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, results of a study showed Monday.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, found poor sleep quality was linked to build up of amyloid-beta and tau proteins. These two proteins accumulate to form plaques and tangles that are known to cause Alzheimer’s. The results of the study was published in the journal Brain.

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Researchers conducted the study on 17 men and women aged between 35 and 65 years. The participants were given headphones to wear during their sleeping time and were subjected to a series of beeps that grew louder until the participants' slow-wave patterns deteriorated leading to shallower sleep. This was followed by a spinal tap in the morning to measure the levels of amyloid beta and tau in the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Researchers observed that disrupted sleep was followed by higher levels of amyloid-beta.

"We were not surprised to find that tau levels didn't budge after just one night of disrupted sleep while amyloid levels did, because amyloid levels normally change more quickly than tau levels," Yo-El Ju, assistant professor of neurology and the lead study author, said in a statement. "But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their tau levels had risen."

Ju further noted that people who have chronic sleep issues may be at risk of accumulating the proteins in their brains.

"The main concern is people who have chronic sleep problems," Ju said. "I think that may lead to chronically elevated amyloid levels, which animal studies have shown lead to increased risk of amyloid plaques and Alzheimer's."

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths due Alzheimer’s shot up by 55 percent in just 15 years. In 2014, there were 93,541 deaths attributed to the disease as opposed to 44,536 in 1999.

“Millions of Americans and their family members are profoundly affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” CDC acting director Anne Schuchat told NBC News in May. “As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer’s disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of care giver than ever before. These families need and deserve our support.”

“As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, caregiving becomes very important,” Christopher Taylor, a CDC epidemiologist who led the study team, told the news outlet at the time. “Caregivers and patients can benefit from programs that include education about Alzheimer’s disease, how to take care of themselves and their loved one and case management to lessen the burden of care. Supportive interventions can lessen the burden for caregivers and improve the quality of care for people with Alzheimer's.”

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Alzheimer’s is current ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to National Institute on Aging. However, it notes that the disease may rank third — only behind heart disease and cancer — as a cause of death among elderly people.

The mortality rate associated with Alzheimer’s is more common than that of breast and prostate cancer combined, Alzheimer’s Association stated on its website. The association also noted that Alzheimer’s is “not normal aging” and is a “progressive brain disease without any cure.”