Cognition in schizophrenia improves with treatment of severe obstructive sleep apnoea: A pilot study

Hannah Myles, Nicholas Myles, Ching Li Coetzer, Robert John Adams, Madhu Chandratilleke, Dennis T Liu, Jeremy D. Mercer, Andrew Vakulin, Andrew Vincent, Gary Wittert, Cherrie Galletly

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    10 Citations (Scopus)
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    Previous studies have shown that people with schizophrenia have high rates of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Despite this, intervention studies to treat OSA in this population have not been undertaken. The ASSET (Assessing Sleep in Schizophrenia and Evaluating Treatment) pilot study investigated Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment of severe OSA in participants recruited from a clozapine clinic in Adelaide. Participants with severe untreated OSA (Apnoea-Hypopnoea Index (AHI) > 30), were provided with CPAP treatment, and assessed at baseline and six months across the following domains: physical health, quality of sleep, sleepiness, cognition, psychiatric symptoms and CPAP adherence. Six of the eight ASSET participants with severe OSA accepted CPAP. At baseline, half of the cohort had hypertension, all were obese with a mean BMI of 45, and they scored on average 1.47 standard deviations below the normal population in cognitive testing. The mean AHI was 76.8 and sleep architecture was markedly impaired with mean rapid eye movement (REM) sleep 4.1% and mean slow wave sleep (SWS) 4.8%. After six months of treatment there were improvements in cognition (BACS Z score improved by an average of 0.59) and weight loss (mean weight loss 7.3 ± 9 kg). Half of the participants no longer had hypertension and sleep architecture improved with mean REM sleep 31.4% of the night and mean SWS 24% of the night. Our data suggests CPAP may offer novel benefits to address cognitive impairment and sleep disturbance in people with schizophrenia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-20
    Number of pages7
    JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Bibliographical note

    'This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license'


    • schizophrenia
    • Sleep disordered breathing
    • apnoea
    • Sleep quality
    • hypertension


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