Related Conditions

Sleep Apnea Connected to Memory Loss

Leah Health Guide June 12, 2008
  • After the past traumatic three weeks, I am happy to say that I am returning to the LAND OF THE LIVING.  Though I continue to worry about my granddaughter's anorexia, I have put her into God's hands... and, though I continue to mourn the loss of my brother, I know I must move forward through the grieving process.  With all that pushed from the front burner, I have now begun to do more to improve my own life. I wish to thank, once again, all my readers who have been so comforting with their responses during this stressful time.  It also means much to me to know that people are interested in what I have to write.

     

    I met with my neurologist yesterday and found that everything seems to be status quo.  No changes in medications and, most importantly, I don't have to go back for six months.  That's a great step forward!

     

    This morning, I watched one of the news channels discuss a study concerning a connection between memory loss and sleep apnea. (Once I finally got out of bed,) I quickly found their source on the internet.  Susan Abram, a staff writer for the Whittier Daily News, wrote an article late Tuesday entitled: Sleep Apnea Can Cause Serious Brain Injury.  Her article reviews a study done by UCLA researchers who found, after studying brain MRI's of 40 sleep apnea sufferers, that the mammilary bodies (formations at the base of the brain) were 20% smaller in people suffering from sleep apnea as compared to those who do not.  (These finding are similar to patients who are suffering from memory loss due to Alzheimer's and alcoholism.) 

     

    Ronald Harper, neurobiology professor at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says that this disruption in memory and thinking can have lasting effects if not treated quickly.  The article quoted Jim Reynolds, who was lamenting that his IQ had fallen dramatically due to the repercussions of sleep apnea.  I, too, could identify with him as I have lost about 30 points of my own  IQ.  With sleep apnea now affecting twenty million American, this study is of utmost importance. 

     

    As a follow-up of that study, Harper and his team are now conducting a study to see the effect of a regimen of treating these sleep apnea sufferers with Vitamin B-1 has in restoring memory.  Vitamin B-1 is currently being used for treating memory loss in alcoholics. For anyone suffering from memory loss, I do hope that you will consider looking into all areas of your health, especially any sleep problems.

     

    With these studies in mind, I am going to call my neurologist to find out about using Vitamin B-1 and in what amount.  It can't hurt!  As for continuing to treat my sleep apnea, I use my CPAP machine at night and any time I take a nap.  It did take some time to get used to the CPAP, but my determination was high as I was so desperate for sleep. I was surprised that it makes little noise.  There are many different types of face and nasal masks on the market, so there should be one for everyone.  I understand, too, that most insurance companies cover the cost with a prescription from your doctor.  A sleep study will need to be done first to determine the degree of sleep apnea and the rate of air which is best for you.  

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    May you stay healthy and happy till next we meet...

    Leah

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