A study (ID# 0291) being presented as an oral presentation this morning at SLEEP 2008 evaluated 52 older adults who have both Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
When the study subjects were treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, the resulting increase in total sleep time was significantly associated with improvements in neurocognitive testing.
No other variables, including changes in oxygenation, were significant. This implies that the cognitive impairment associated with OSA in AD patients may result from short sleep time.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that the steepest prevalence increase for OSA is in the transition from middle-aged to older-aged adults. According to the National Institute on Aging, up to 4.5 million Americans suffer from AD, which usually begins after the age of 60.
The SLEEP 2008 abstract book is available online at http://www.journalsleep.org/PDF/AbstractBook2008.pdf.