Through much of my training at Stanford, we often saw young patients come in complaining “doctor I think I have early Alzheimer’s.” They would forget entire movies or important events, forget why they walked into rooms, and at minimum had tremendous trouble remembering names and paying attention in conversations. A lot of times, these patients looked and essentially had, a lot of the symptoms seen in ADHD – Attention Deficit Disorder. One very important aspect that soon came into play became sleep quality.
Restful sleep gives the brain time to reorganize and store information, and prepare the brain to learn. A new body of research (see link below) has shown that untreated sleep apnea, can often advance the onset of dementia by as much as 10 years.
The good news, is that with adequate treatment, a lot of the patients seen here see markedly improved cognitive function – memory, recall, and ability for focus and sustained attention.
And, according to the study below – treatment of sleep apnea (if present) can delay the onset of any dementia or cognitive impairment substantially.