Treating common sleep problem may lower dementia risk

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In a study from Michigan Medicine, scientists found older adults who received positive airway pressure therapy prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.

They analyzed Medicare claims of more than 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older who had been diagnosed with OSA.

In this study, they examined if those people who used positive airway pressure therapy were less likely to receive a new diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment over the next 3 years, compared to people who did not use positive airway pressure.

The team found a significant association between positive airway pressure use and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia over three years.

This suggests that positive airway pressure may be protective against dementia risk in people with OSA.

The findings stress the impact of sleep on cognitive function.

The team says if a causal pathway exists between OSA treatment and dementia risk, as our findings suggest, diagnosis and effective treatment of OSA could play a key role in the cognitive health of older adults

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the upper airway collapses repeatedly throughout the night, preventing normal breathing during sleep.

OSA is associated with a variety of other neurological and cardiovascular conditions, and many older adults are at high risk for OSA.

And dementia is also prevalent, with approximately 5.8 million Americans currently living with it.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about new surgery that could benefit people with sleep apnea, and sleep can maximize vaccine effectiveness.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies about sleep apnea linked to autoimmune diseases, and results showing sleep is the ‘crystal ball’ to predict Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was conducted by Galit Levi Dunietz et al.

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