Two studies have been released in the past month that demonstrate the destructive effects of snoring and sleep apnea on your cognitive abilities.
One explains how snoring interferes with children’s cognatic development.
The other proves that adults who snore or have sleep apnea are almost guaranteed to develop some type of dementia.
In the first study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, researchers from the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales investigated whether sleep apnea could delay or prevent the full neurocognitive development of children.
After searching through medical databases and identifying the strongest published studies on this question, they included 63 studies that were all of moderate or high quality.
The most shocking finding was that the neurocognitive outcomes were equally bad for children with sleep apnea and children who only snored.
1. The worst effects were on the children’s overall intelligence and linguistic development, which were far behind those of similarly aged children.
2. Other cognitive domains were also negatively affected, including memory, decision-making, attention, and visual spatial abilities.
3. The effects were especially severe for children of a younger age and for those with a higher body mass index, the latter of which suggests that you might have a bit of control over how far behind their peers your children will be.
As if this is not alarming enough, the second study in the Journal of Sleep Research links sleep apnea with dementia.
Scientists from l’Université de Montréal in Canada also performed an analysis on already published studies that investigated the relationship between sleep apnea and various disorders related to dementia.
These included Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia (the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s), vascular dementia (caused by reduced blood flow to the brain), and frontotemporal dementia (caused by the shrinkage of the front of the brain).
They found 11 good-quality studies with 1,333,424 participants and reached some worrying conclusions.
1. Sleep apnea patients had a 43 percent increased risk of any cognitive disorder.
2. They were 28 percent more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and 54 percent more likely to have Parkinson’s disease.
3. They were twice as likely to develop Lewy body dementia, although there was only one study that investigated this association specifically.
Both these studies demonstrate just how destructive sleep apnea can be on brain development and the maintenance of good intellectual health, regardless of our age.
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