New research has uncovered an alarming link between sleep apnea and dementia. The research, reported in the August 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, seems to confirm sleep experts’ long-suspected belief that sleep apnea can deprive the brain of oxygen to cause declines in cognitive ability.
For the study, scientists checked the cognitive ability of 298 women over the age of 65, none of whom had been demented when tested five years previously. They found that 32.5 percent of the women had dementia or mild cognitive impairment – with the risk for cognitive impairment almost twice as high in those who had sleep apnea. Although the study involved only women, it’s likely the results also apply to men.
The good news, however, is that sleep apnea treatment, usually the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, might help prevent or delay the onset of dementia
Source: CBS News