Conference Coverage

Sleep apnea linked to worsened neurocognitive function in Hispanic women



MINNEAPOLIS – Sleep apnea is associated with neurocognitive dysfunction in adult Hispanics living in the United States, research presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies shows.

In unadjusted models, sleep apnea, as assessed by the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), was inversely associated with neurocognitive dysfunction in both men and women.

Dr. Alberto Ramos

"However, after adjusting for covariates, these interactions were attenuated," reported Dr. Alberto R. Ramos. "In a fully adjusted model accounting for age, BMI [body mass index], tobacco use, depression and anxiety scores, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and field center tested, this association was seen only in women, but not in men."

Dr. Ramos of the department of clinical neurology at the University of Miami and his colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 9,714 Hispanic men and women between the ages of 45 and 74 who were participants in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). The researchers sought to determine the extent to which sleep apnea contributes to neurocognitive dysfunction in a representative sample of Hispanic men and women residing in the United States.

Subjects were administered multiple neurocognitive tests, assessing learning, recall, word fluency, and digit symbol substitution. Obstructive sleep apnea was determined objectively using the apnea risk evaluation system and defined by the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), and subjectively using standardized sleep symptom scales.

The mean AHI was 8.9, 11.5 for men and 6.8 for women (P less than 0.001 for difference between genders). With increasing age, the AHI significantly increased, too, from 7.4 in subjects aged 45 to 54, to 11.5 in those aged 65 to 74 (P less than 0.001).

Dementia prevalence is on the rise, particularly among Hispanics/Latinos who are up to 3.3 times more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for advanced dementia, compared with non-Hispanic whites, Dr. Ramos reported.

Dr. Ramos reported having no disclosures. The study received support from multiple National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grants.

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