May 25, 2018
Older man sleeping in bed.
Wellness Tip

Treating Sleep Apnea May Reduce Dementia Risk

by Berkeley Wellness  

Treating sleep apnea may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study involved community-dwelling people, ages 55 to 90, with normal cognition, and determined that slightly more than half had sleep apnea, usually mild, for which none were being treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices. Researchers then followed participants for two years and found that biomarkers for amyloid plaque (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s) in their spinal fluid increased over time in proportion to the severity of their sleep apnea, as did the amyloid deposits in the brain, as seen on PET scans.

Sleep apnea repeatedly interrupts sleep and deprives the brain of oxygen, which may help explain a possible link to Alzheimer’s risk, the researchers noted.

Also see 5 Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea.