One would think that breathing poorly during sleep would speed up age-related cognitive decline. Are the elderly who are prone to Sleep Breathing Disorders (think about how loudly your Grammy snores) more at risk for the onset of age-related brain dysfunction?
A new study that has looked into this assumption answers with a surprising NO.
In the latest edition of the journal 'SLEEP' there is an article detailing an 8 year longitudinal study of 559 participants with an average age of 67 years. The researchers looked at the elderly's breathing during sleep as well as at their cognitive ability (more specifically their attention; memory and executive function).
What the research showed is that significantly poor breathing impacted the elderly's attention span but had no impact on a decrease in memory or executive function - even after 8 years!
It appears that diseases like Alzheimers and Dementia do not stem simply from poor sleep breathing or poor sleep quality.
There must be other more significant factors playing a role in the aging mind and further research is needed to unlock them.