Most people have experienced a lag in memory after a bad night’s sleep, but new research says chronic sleep disordered breathing might actually hasten cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from the NYU School of Medicine and the Rutgers School of Public Health examined the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing in participants of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort. Their results were published in the journal Neurology.
They found that sleep-disordered breathing was associated with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease onset earlier in life. Previous studies have linked sleep disruption and sleep disordered breathing with cognitive impairment and dementia, but this is one of the first to show CPAP use associated with a later disease diagnosis.
Sleep disordered breathing includes conditions like heavy snoring and sleep apnea and has been linked with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. A recent study even found that expectant mothers with sleep-disordered breathing might affect her child’s future risk of disease.
The researchers concluded that CPAP therapy might delay cognitive impairment in patients with sleep-disordered breathing. It will be interesting to see whether future research shows that oral appliance therapy—already shown to be as effective as CPAP therapy at lowering blood pressure—might also help delay cognitive impairment.