(REUTERS) — Older people who have sleep apnea, which can be marked by heavy snoring, tend to begin experiencing cognitive decline about ten years earlier than those without the disorder, or those who use a breathing machine to treat their apnea, according to a new U.S. study.
Among older people who developed mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, those with untreated obstructed sleep breathing began to experience mental loss at an average age of 77, compared to age 90 for those without breathing problems, the study team found.
“We didn’t’ find that snoring causes dementia,” said lead author Dr. Ricardo S. Osorio of The Center for Brain Health at NYU School of Medicine in New York.
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“We found that in those people that reported that they had sleep apnea, and were not treating it, the age of decline was earlier.”