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CPAP May Aid Brain Health

Sarah Shoen

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Sarah Shoen, News Writer

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Using a CPAP machine can help reverse side effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to researchers in Sydney.

Their study found that after six months of using a CPAP machine, patients can offset impairments often associated with OSA, such as memory and attention difficulties, in addition to improving their sleep.

“After six months of CPAP usage for at least four hours a night, participants also showed an improvement in their motor skills and their ability to switch between tasks.”

In a questionnaire after treatment, participants reported an increase in quality of life as well.

Brain-monitoring tests also detected changes in participants’ sleep architecture, which is how their brains proceed through the stages of sleep throughout the night. Test results also showed an increase in the brain activity called sleep spindles, which are tied to non-REM sleep and play a role in learning and memory.

Executive functioning — skills that allow us to plan, pay attention, remember directions, and multi-task — can be impaired in individuals with OSA compared to those without it. In addition to noting how CPAP treatment addresses sleep abnormalities, researchers suggest diving deeper to learn more about its long-term impact on patients’ memory, attention, and other cognitive abilities.

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Sarah Shoen

News Writer

Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

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