Study: Sleep apnea in seniors linked to Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NEW YORK – Sleep apnea may somehow cause—or be caused by—Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests. Researchers at the New York University of Medicine found a correlation between the two conditions, but findings were preliminary, with nothing conclusive, according to an article from HealthDay news service. Lead author Dr. Ricardo Osorio, however, said that there deserves to be further study, since there may be a link between sleep, aging and memory. “It’s clear that sleep is important for memory, and sleep changes as you get older,” Osorio stated. “Disrupted breathing during sleep also increases with age.” For the study, researchers examined the sleep of 68 seniors whose average age was 71. There were two unlikely findings: First, that thinner patients with breathing problems, though less likely to have sleep apnea, were more likely to have certain “biomarkers” signaling an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s; second, the study found that heavier patients with breathing problems, though at greater risk for sleep apnea, may have a decreased risk for developing Alzheimer’s.