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Sleep Apnea Associated with Early Memory Loss

Sleep Apnea Associated with Early Memory Loss

People who snore heavily and suffer from sleep apnea may have a much greater likelihood of developing early stage memory loss or even mild cognitive impairment. This is according to study findings publsihed in the Medical Journal Of Neurology.

Alzheimer's disease researchers examined over 2,500 patients including those without memory or cognition problems, those with early signs of mild cognitive impairment and those with the Alzheimer's disease. People with sleep-disordered breathing problems tended to be diagnosed with mild congnitive impairment close to 10 years sooner than those who did not have sleep breathing problems. The average age of decline in cognitive impairment is 90 years old, compared to the average decline age of 77 years old for those with sleep disorders.

Researchers believe that the emergence of Alzheimer’s plaques can disrupt sleep – and that lack of sleep also contributes to formation of more plaques. This link may provide us with an easily detectable sign of Alzheimer's pathology. As specialists start to treat people who have markers of early Alzheimer's, changes in sleep in response to treatments may serve as an indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding.

A simple screening and home sleep test can diagnose somebody having a problem. Then there's treatment options. A CPAP machine is one option. Another option is a specially, custom made oral appliance. These treatments are important because obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to increased likelihood for heart attacks, strokes and other vascular conditions.

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