Sleep apnea linked to increased risk of dementia

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from Monash University found that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been linked to an increased risk of dementia.

They found that severe OSA is linked to an increase in a protein, called beta-amyloid, which builds up on the walls of the arteries in the brain and increases the risk of dementia.

The research is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and was conducted by Dr. Melinda Jackson et al.

OSA is a common sleep disorder, affecting about 1 billion people worldwide and is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep, resulting in intermittent dips in oxygen levels and arousals from sleep.

In the study, the team examined 34 people with recently diagnosed untreated OSA and 12 individuals who were asymptomatic for sleep disorders.

They explored associations between brain amyloid burden using a PET brain scan, and measures of sleep, demographics, and mood.

The team found the OSA group recorded a higher amyloid burden, poorer sleep efficiency, and less time spent in stage N3 sleep (a regenerative period where your body heals and repairs itself).

They say the significance of finding the association between increased brain amyloid in patients with OSA will allow for further research to explore in more detail the implications of treating OSA for reducing dementia risk.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about drug that could help treat insomnia, sleep loss, and how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies about sleep warning for older men, and results showing this noise could boost your memory function and improve deep sleep.

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