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Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Slow Age-Related Cognitive Decline

In a longitudinal study recently published in Frontiers in Sleep, an international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia collaborated to explore the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and cognitive decline in older adults. They found that OSA was directly associated with a faster rate of adult cognitive decline, especially in executive function and attention.

While patients with OSA often present with signs of cognitive decline, previous research has pointed to comorbidities as possible causes. This is the first study to demonstrate that OSA is independently sufficient to accelerate the onset of early cognitive decline.

"Figure 1. Violin plots depict results of significant CANTAB tests' findings for controls, mild OSA and severe OSA. When controlled for the influence of age and BMI, out of all CANTAB modalities (23 tests in 11 modalities), only Emotion Recognition Task, Attention Switching Task, Reaction Time and Delayed Matching to Sample showed significant differences between the groups, mainly between controls and severe OSA. Dots, squares and triangles show individual values (control, mild OSA and severe OSA, respectively). Thick dashed lines inside violins indicate group median, with thinner dashed lines indicating quartiles (*P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.0001; two-way ANCOVA with Bonferroni's correction for multiple comparisons controlled for age and BMI). RTIFDMRT, Median duration between stimulus onset and release of button; RTIFMMT, Mean time taken to touch stimulus after button release; ERTOMDRT, Median latency of response from stimulus onset to subject response; ERTTH, Number of correctly answered responses; ASTSWMD, Median latency of response in rule switching trials; ASTLCMD, Median latency of response on congruent trials; DMSPC, Percentage of assessment trials during which subject selected the correct box on their first box choice; DMSMDLAD, Median latency from the available choices being displayed to the subject choosing the correct choice." (Gnoni et al., 2023)

The study involved 500 non-obese adult males who underwent comprehensive sleep assessments and cognitive testing at baseline and follow-up visits. These findings have important implications for public health, as OSA is a common sleep disorder that affects up to 30% of adults the world over, all while cognitive decline is a major concern for aging populations.

Fortunately, the study also suggests that treating obstructive sleep apnea may have beneficial effects on cognitive function. However, the early detection and treatment of OSA can be challenging, given the current limitations of traditional sleep testing methods.

Polysomnography (PSG) is considered the gold standard for diagnosing OSA, but it can be time-consuming, expensive, and uncomfortable for patients. Moreover, PSG testing may not capture the full spectrum of OSA symptom severity and variability since it only measures sleep during a single night in a controlled laboratory environment setting. This can lead to underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis of OSA and have serious health consequences if left untreated.

To overcome these limitations, Neurobit offers a range of products that can reduce the time and cost associated with traditional sleep testing methods and enable earlier detection and treatment of OSA.

  1. Neurobit Score is a PSG and home sleep test (HST) AI and deep learning cloud-based scoring platform that accurately labels sleep events with real-time scoring capability.

  2. Z3 Pulse is an ECG-based chest wearable device that works with NeurobitScore to provide sleep reports and guidance for improving sleep.

  3. Neurobit Hub is a one-stop-shop research and academia-oriented platform for gathering and analyzing large datasets with convenient zero-click integration. NeurobitHub is customizable and can help facilitate the research and discovery of novel biomarkers.

The study highlights the importance of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of OSA. Our technological advancements here at Neurobit have the potential to reduce the time and cost associated with traditional sleep testing methods and enable earlier detection and treatment of OSA, and contribute to the prevention and management of OSA to potentially slow down age-related cognitive decline.

Reach out if you would like to find out more, try our technology, work with us, and ultimately help us accelerate the development of innovative technologies for the early detection and treatment of disorders, such as OSA, to improve health for all.

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Gnoni, V., Mesquita, M., O’Regan, D., Delogu, A., Chakalov, I., Antal, A., Young, A. H., Bucks, R. S., Jackson, M. L., & Rosenzweig, I. (2023). Distinct cognitive changes in male patients with obstructive sleep apnoea without co-morbidities. Frontiers in Sleep, 2, 1097946.

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