A considerable body of research has suggested that patients with untreated obstructive sleep (OSA) apnea are at a higher risk for a multitude of mental conditions including memory problems.
Last year, researches measured a specific type of memory; autobiographical memory. Autobiographical memory is the term scientists and psychologists use to define the memory of personal events.
The study was published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society in March 2019.
The goal was to identify whether patients with untreated OSA have diminished ability to recall autobiographical memories when compared to age-matched controls and to analyze the quality of autobiographical memories from three broad time points.
Sleep Apnea Study Results
Participants with untreated OSA had a significantly poorer semantic recall of early adult life and more over-general autobiographical memories recalled than the control group. In addition, poor recall from early adult life was linked to more depressive symptoms. Cambridge University
A specific deficit in semantic autobiographical recall was detected in patients with OSA. OSA patients recalled more over-general memories, suggesting that features of OSA influence their capacity to recollect specific details of life events. These memory-related impacts of OSA may also contribute to the high rate of depression in this population. Cambridge University
A Sleep Medicine Dentist Can Help
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) conducted by a dentist can be an effective non-CPAP treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved OAT in the following circumstances:
- As a first-line treatment for individuals with mild to moderate OSA
- As a first-line treatment for people with severe OSA who are unable to use CPAP devices
- As a combination of therapy (using CPAP and an oral appliance together)
A custom-fit oral appliance allows patients to breathe normally during the night. A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by a medical doctor. If the physician recommends oral appliance therapy, he or she will refer the patient to a dentist who is trained in treating sleep disorders.
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