Can Sleep Apnea Jeopardize Brain Power?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The association between moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and impaired neurocognitive function is well established. It is unclear whether this association is related to low oxygen levels or the repeated arousals during sleep.

A new study in the journal Sleep and Breathing examined the association between cogitative function and OSA.

Researchers aimed to describe verbal memory and executive function in adults using the Berlin Questionnaire. It also investigated the relationship between cognitive function and OSA severity. .

They study included 290 adults with an average age of 48 years. Fifty-five percent of participants were female. They received the Berlin Questionnaire by mail and demonstrated a high-risk for OSA. Participants’ verbal memory was assessed by Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and executive function by the Stroop test. OSA severity indicators were measured by polysomnography (PSG).

Results show that average oxygen saturation was the indicator of OSA severity most strongly associated with cognitive function. Researchers found that adults at high risk of OSA demonstrated verbal memory and executive function impairments.

Find out if OSA is affecting your brain power.

Image by Rich Lyons

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