Insomnia in elderly linked to memory loss risk, dementia

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Toronto, Sep 8 (IANS) Older people suffering from insomnia are at greater risk of developing memory decline and long-term cognitive impairment like dementia, says a new study.

The study indicated that they are also more likely to show greater prevalence of anxiety, depression, daytime sleepiness, have breathing interruptions during sleep, other sleep-related issues, smoking and a greater body mass index (BMI) score.

“We found that insomnia specifically was related to worse memory performance compared to those who have just some insomnia symptoms or no sleep problems at all,” said researcher Nathan Cross, from the Concordia University, Montreal in Canada.

“This deficit in memory was specific, as we also looked at other cognitive function domains such as attention span and multi-tasking. We only found differences in memory,” he added.

For the study, published in the journal Sleep, the team evaluated data from about 26,000 participants aged between 45 and 85. Resultantly, the subjects were grouped into three categories — those who reported no sleep problems at the 2019 baseline, those who had some insomnia symptoms and those who developed probable insomnia.

Participants who reported worsening sleep quality in the three-year interval (2019-2022) also reported subjective memory decline.

Those who reported a worsening of sleep quality, from no symptoms to some or probable insomnia, and from some symptoms to probable insomnia, were more likely to develop memory decline.

“All of these are considered risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia,” researchers revealed.

“Men with insomnia perform worse on memory tests than women, suggesting that older men may be at greater risk,” they added.



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