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Brain and Mental Performance

Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Cognitive Decline

16 years, 10 months ago

2038  0
Posted on Sep 25, 2002, 2 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Seniors who feel unusually drowsy during the day could be developing early signs of memory loss and other types of cognitive impairment, say researchers from the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center in California.Results of a telephone interview of more than 1,000 healthy seniors aged 60 and over revealed that 13.

Seniors who feel unusually drowsy during the day could be developing early signs of memory loss and other types of cognitive impairment, say researchers from the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center in California.

Results of a telephone interview of more than 1,000 healthy seniors aged 60 and over revealed that 13.6% of participants said they suffered from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Compared with non-drowsy subjects, Dr Maurice M Ohayon and colleagues found that those prone to nodding off during the day were roughly twice as likely to have problems with memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions. IN fact, results showed that daytime sleepers were 2.1 times more likely to have attention-concentration deficits, twice as likely to suffer from delayed recall, and 2.5 times more likely to have person orientation difficulties.
The researcher say that their findings show that EDS is an important risk factor for cognitive impairment, and that patients complaining of EDS should be evaluated for signs of cognitive problems. However, Ohayon believes that it is possible to stave off mental decline by staying mentally active, saying: "Staying active keeps the mind healthy." Previous research has shown that older people who have a healthy social life are less likely to lose their mental faculties.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Archives of Internal Medicine 2002; 162:201-208

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