American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting
American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting
April 22, 2016
1 min read

Dementia screening tool may help identify obstructive sleep apnea

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

A unique pattern on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neurophysical Status test was able to identify patients with obstructive sleep apnea, according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

Amber Gerber, PsyD, LP, and Donn Dexter, MD, both with the Mayo Clinic Health System, wrote in their abstract that obstructive sleep apnea, which is a common and remediable condition, is a risk factor for cognitive dysfunction.

"One in five geriatric patients referred to the Memory Care Clinic at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wis., have obstructive sleep apnea," Gerber told Healio Internal Medicine. "It is imperative to screen for sleep-disordered breathing that may negatively impact memory."

Amber Gerber

Amber Gerber

The researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of 191 patients seen in a memory care clinic and compared results from patients with the unique pattern with patients without it for presence of obstructive sleep apnea.

Results showed that 81 patients (42%) presented with the unique pattern, and of those, 52 were tested for obstructive sleep apnea. Of those, 35 patients (65%) tested positive.

"Based on 3 years of data, a unique memory pattern on a cognitive screening tool suggests 65% of patients with a lower Immediate Memory (several minutes) than Delayed Memory (30 minutes) score tested positive for [obstructive sleep apnea], a treatable cause for "dementia-like” symptoms," Gerber said. "Observational data suggest improved memory/cognition if [obstructive sleep apnea] is diagnosed and treated early. Noncompliance appears to lead to decreased cognitive ability. Future studies further exploring compliance and cognition are planned." – by Chelsea Frajerman Pardes


Gerber A, Dexter D. A unique pattern on memory testing in dementia screening predicts obstructive sleep apnea. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 15-21, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia.

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.