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Behav Brain Res. 2010 Jun 26;210(1):123-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.01.043. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

One week of exposure to intermittent hypoxia impairs attentional set-shifting in rats.

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  • 1VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Research 151-C, 940 Belmont Street, Brockton, MA 02301, USA. <>


Intermittent hypoxia (IH), a characteristic of sleep apnea, was modeled in Fischer Brown Norway rats (10h/day for 7 days) followed by cognitive testing in an attentional set-shifting task. The ability to shift attention from one sensory modality (e.g., odor) to another (e.g., digging medium) was impaired, a finding that could not be attributed to deficits in attention, discrimination, learning, or motor performance. Instead, the deficit is likely to reflect impaired allocation of attentional resources of the working memory system.

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