Sleep Apnea & Memory Loss

Sleep Apnea


Have you ever forgotten things that you were thinking of just a minute ago? Have you ever forgotten where your car was parked, where your house keys were, even if you were holding them? Or have you ever done something a minute ago, and did the same act again? You may be suffering from sleep apnea.


 
Sleep apnea is a type of sleeping disorder that causes one to have frequent breathing pauses, or have inadequate breath intakes during sleep. The apnea refers to pauses in breathing this can happen 30 times an hour, each lasting from several seconds to minutes.
A study released online on the 29th of October in the Journal of Neuroscience conducted on three dozens of subjects who suffered from sleep apnea revealed that when this condition interrupted deep sleep, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep when dreams usually happen, the ability to retain memories of everyday things were impaired.
Dr Andrew Varga, an instructor in the division of sleep, critical care and pulmonary medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in the area of New York City said in a news release by NYU that for the first time, they have managed to show that sleep apnea might negatively affect the formation of memories, even if the apnea happens during deep sleep. What makes it more alarming is that sleep apnea is becoming increasingly common.
This new findings implies that memory loss could be an additional problem for doctors to look for in their patients with this sleeping condition, Varga, who is also a physician in the Sleep Disorder Center in NYU, continues. Although the study connected impaired spatial memory to sleep apnea, there was insufficient evidence to prove a straightforward cause-and-effect connection between the two. In other words, there is not enough facts to say that sleep apnea will definitely cause spatial memory lapses.
About 4% of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, out of which, 25% of middle-aged men suffer from this condition as well. Good news though: steps have been made to invent masks for people suffering from sleep apnea.

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