Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Page: I
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Dolan, Diana C. Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with
Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Doctor of Philosophy (Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine),
August 2009, 95 pp., 15 tables, 9 illustrations, references, 88 titles.
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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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/m1/2/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .