Sleep apnea tied to later dementia | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Sleep apnea tied to later dementia

Elderly women with nighttime gaps in breathing prone to cognitive problems

5:01pm, August 9, 2011

Breathing irregularities that rob the brain of oxygen during sleep may imperil a person’s ability to think straight. A study of women 65 and older finds that those with seriously disordered breathing have an increased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia in subsequent years, researchers report in the Aug. 10 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Individuals with disordered breathing slow down or stop taking breaths  during sleep and often must gasp to catch up. The condition includes sleep apnea, an abnormal pattern that deprives the brain of oxygen and intermittently interrupts the deep sleep needed for satisfying rest.

Earlier, short-term studies linked disordered breathing to cognitive impairment, citing hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, as a culprit. But long-term data have been lacking.

In the new study, physician Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues tested 298 women,

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content