Associations of baseline obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture with cognitive function after 8 years in middle-aged and older men from a community-based cohort study

Jesse L. Parker, Andrew Vakulin, Ganesh Naik, Yohannes Adama Melaku, David Stevens, Gary A. Wittert, Sean A. Martin, Peter G. Catcheside, Barbara Toson, Sarah L. Appleton, Robert J. Adams

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Abstract

Previous prospective studies examining associations of obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture with future cognitive function recruited older participants, many demonstrating baseline cognitive impairment. This study examined obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture predictors of visual attention, processing speed, and executive function after 8 years among younger community-dwelling men. Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study participants (n = 477) underwent home-based polysomnography, with 157 completing Trail-Making Tests A and B and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Associations of obstructive sleep apnea (apnea–hypopnea index, oxygen desaturation index, and hypoxic burden index) and sleep macroarchitecture (sleep stage percentages and total sleep time) parameters with future cognitive function were examined using regression models adjusted for baseline demographic, biomedical, and behavioural factors, and cognitive task performance. The mean (standard deviation) age of the men at baseline was 58.9 (8.9) years, with severe obstructive sleep apnea (apnea–hypopnea index ≥30 events/h) in 9.6%. The median (interquartile range) follow-up was 8.3 (7.9–8.6) years. A minority of men (14.6%) were cognitively impaired at baseline (Mini-Mental State Examination score <28/30). A higher percentage of light sleep was associated with better Trail-Making Test A performance (B = −0.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.06, −0.01; p = 0.003), whereas higher mean oxygen saturation was associated with worse performance (B = 0.11, 95% CI 0.02, 0.19; p = 0.012). While obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture might predict cognitive decline, future studies should consider arousal events and non-routine hypoxaemia measures, which may show associations with cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14078
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • cognitive function
  • NREM sleep
  • OSA
  • REM sleep

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