Washington: A new study has found that older adults who received positive airway pressure therapy prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.
The findings of the study were published in the journal titled ‘Sleep’.
Researchers from Michigan Medicine’s Sleep Disorders Centers analysed Medicare claims of more than 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older who had been diagnosed with OSA.
In this study, they examined if those people who used positive airway pressure therapy were less likely to receive a new diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment over the next three years, compared to people who did not use positive airway pressure.
“We found a significant association between positive airway pressure use and lower risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia over three years, suggesting that positive airway pressure may be protective against dementia risk in people with OSA,” said lead author Galit Levi Dunietz, Ph.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of neurology and a sleep epidemiologist.
The findings stressed the impact of sleep on cognitive function. “If a causal pathway exists between OSA treatment and dementia risk, as our findings suggest, diagnosis and effective treatment of OSA could play a key role in the cognitive health of older adults,” said study principal investigator Tiffany J. Braley, M.D., M.S., an associate professor of neurology.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the upper airway collapses repeatedly throughout the night, preventing normal breathing during sleep. OSA is associated with a variety of other neurological and cardiovascular conditions, and many older adults are at high risk for OSA.
Braley noted that dementia is also prevalent, with approximately 5.8 million Americans currently living with it.
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