Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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The presence of cognitive deficits in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is well-documented. Specifically, short- and long-term memory, attention/vigilance, and executive function (e.g. processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving) are affected. Cognitive deficits in aging occur in similar areas (i.e., memory and processing speed). Given that a greater percentage of older adults experience sleep-disordered breathing as compared to middle-aged adults, it is possible that OSA may account for some of the deficits typically attributed to aging. This study investigated this hypothesis by comparing middle-aged and older adults with and without OSA on computer-based measures of cognitive performance. No effect of ... continued below

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Dolan, Diana C. August 2009.

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  • Dolan, Diana C.

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The presence of cognitive deficits in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is well-documented. Specifically, short- and long-term memory, attention/vigilance, and executive function (e.g. processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving) are affected. Cognitive deficits in aging occur in similar areas (i.e., memory and processing speed). Given that a greater percentage of older adults experience sleep-disordered breathing as compared to middle-aged adults, it is possible that OSA may account for some of the deficits typically attributed to aging. This study investigated this hypothesis by comparing middle-aged and older adults with and without OSA on computer-based measures of cognitive performance. No effect of OSA or an interaction between OSA and age on cognitive function was found; an effect of age on processing speed, distinguishing stimuli rapidly, attention, spatial ability/mental flexibility, and both working memory and short-term visual memory was found. This study also explored whether or not cognitive function may be improved in persons with OSA by re-assessing those participants one month after treatment. An effect of treatment on improvements on processing speed, distinguishing stimuli rapidly, mental flexibility, and short term memory was found. Overall, findings reflect the ability of treatment to improve cognitive function among OSA patients, regardless of lack of deficits when compared to those without OSA.

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  • August 2009

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  • Nov. 19, 2009, 8:18 p.m.

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  • Jan. 16, 2014, 1:47 p.m.

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Dolan, Diana C. Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, dissertation, August 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc11049/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .