Older patients with obstructive sleep apnea who used continuous positive airway pressure therapy for at least 4 hours nightly for 1 year had improved cognitive function, according to findings recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but little prospective evidence exists on the effects of [obstructive sleep apnea] treatment in preclinical [Alzheimer’s disease],” Kathy C. Richards, PhD, of the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues wrote.
Researchers divided patients with mild cognitive impairment and obstructive sleep apnea into two groups: those who used their CPAP for at least 4 hours a night (n = 29; mean age, 67.4 years) and those who did not (n = 25; mean age, 73.2 years).
Richards and colleagues found that after 1 year, those adhering to their CPAP therapy had statistically significant improvements in psychomotor/cognitive processing speed (parameter estimate = 1.68; standard error = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.73-2.62) vs. those who did not. Those adhering to their CPAP therapy also had small to moderate positive changes in daytime sleepiness, everyday function and memory.
“The mild cognitive impairment plus CPAP [compliant] group reported an over fivefold increased odds of perceiving that they had improved, as compared with the mild cognitive impairment and [noncompliant] CPAP group, and this is important from a clinical perspective because it represents an outcome that matters to individuals. Clinicians should screen for obstructive sleep apnea in older adults with mild cognitive impairment and treat it,” Richards and colleagues concluded. – by Janel Miller
Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.