Sleep-Disordered Breathing Tied to Impaired Cognition: Presented at AAIC

By Jill Stein

LONDON -- July 17, 2017 -- Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and a slight deterioration in executive function, according to a study presented here on July 16 at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC).

Yue Leng, PhD, University of California San Francisco, and San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, California, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of community studies in order to better characterise the link between SDB and cognitive impairment.

“While there is an increasing number of community-based epidemiologic studies on SDB and cognitive impairment, it is difficult to draw conclusions on the consistency of the association due to different study designs and methods,” the authors wrote in their poster presentation.

Fourteen studies were included in the meta-analysis, comprising 4,288,419 participants. All studies had at least 200 participants and SDB was ascertained by apnoea-hypopnoea index or clinical diagnosis. Cognitive outcomes were based on standard tests or diagnosis of cognitive impairment.

Pooled analysis from the 6 prospective studies on SDB and the risk of cognitive impairment showed that individuals with SDB were 26% more likely to develop cognitive impairment, with heterogeneity between studies (P = .04).

After excluding 1 study that introduced significant heterogeneity, the pooled risk ratio was 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-1.65).

Pooled analysis of the 7 cross-sectional studies on SDB and executive function suggested that those with SDB had slightly worse executive function (SMD, -0.05; 95% CI, -0.09-0.00). SDB was not associated with global cognition or memory.

“SDB may be an important modifiable risk factor for dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, and more studies are needed to identify underlying mechanisms and to determine whether treatment of SDB may decrease the risk of cognitive impairment,” the authors wrote.

[Presentation title: Sleep-Disordered Breathing, Cognitive Function and Risk of Cognitive Impairment: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Abstract A14616]

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