Women who have sleep apnoea may be more likely to get dementia later in life, researchers have warned.
The common sleep disorder, which causes problems with breathing and decreases oxygen levels in the brain, was linked to a 50 per cent higher likelihood of developing dementia in a study led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.
While the study only looked at older women, the mechanism could well have the same effect on men, while two measures of hypoxia were associated with higher incidence of cognitive impairment.
"Given the high prevalence and significant morbidity associated with both sleep-disordered breathing and cognitive impairment in older populations, establishing whether a prospective association exists between sleep-disordered breathing and cognition is important," said Dr Kristine Yaffe, who led the study.
The news comes shortly after researchers at Lancaster University said they believe there will be a breakthrough drug treatment for Alzheimer's disease within the next five years.
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