New Study Links Sleep Apnea to Premature Cognitive Aging

13 Apr 2023 • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a person's airway becomes blocked for 10 seconds or more during sleep. It is more common than central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles controlling breathing.

OSA is often linked to systemic hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular, and other metabolic diseases. However, a recent study found that OSA can result in premature cognitive decline in otherwise healthy and non-obese people, as it is linked to poorer executive function, visuospatial memory, vigilance, psychomotor function, and impulse control.

The study recruited 27 men with OSA and compared their cognitive function to a control group of seven individuals without OSA, using a sensitive cognitive assessment. The basic attributes of OSA, such as sleep interruption, intermittent hypoxemia, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress, are thought to promote cognitive decline.

Chronic sleep fragmentation caused by OSA can also prevent sleep from playing its role in memory consolidation, brain plasticity, and cerebral metabolic waste clearance.

Source: Medical News Today | Read full story

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