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Sleep Apnea May Speed Up Memory Problems

Loud snorers and people with sleep apnea may develop memory problems much earlier than those with normal breathing during sleep, a new study suggests. But getting treatment for sleep apnea may restore normal risk levels. The study was based on a review of medical records for about 2,500 people. They ranged in age from 55 to 90. Researchers divided people into 3 groups. One group had normal brain function. One group had mild memory and thinking problems (mild cognitive impairment). The third group had Alzheimer's disease. Researchers also looked at when people developed these problems. Diagnosis with mild memory problems occurred about 10 years earlier for people who had sleep-disordered breathing (sleep apnea or heavy snoring) than for those without sleep issues. Alzheimer's disease was diagnosed about 5 years earlier.

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