Thursday, August 11, 2011

Poor Sleep Quality May Predict Dementia Five Years Later

Older women have an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia five years after reporting sleep-disordered breathing, such as recurrent arousals from sleep and intermittent hypoxemia, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Such breathing problems are common in older adults, especially women, as people who have spent time with their grandmothers can attest. A number of other adverse health outcomes including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes have also been associated with sleep-disordered breathing. But this is the first time a prospective link has been made between sleep-disordered breathing and dementia.

The news, said the researchers “has the potential for a large public-health impact.” Their results suggested that hypoxia is the mechanism for the association: “Our findings suggest a potential role for supplemental oxygen therapy for sleep-disordered breathing in elderly individuals,” they said.

To learn more about the role sleep disorders can play in the development of metabolic syndrome, see Psychiatric News at

A comprehensive look at sleep disorders can be found in the American Psychiatric Publishing book, Clinical Manual for Evaluation and Treatment of Sleep Disorders. For more information see

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