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Brain Res Bull. 2003 Jun 30;61(1):87-92.

Cognitive dysfunction in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): partial reversibility after continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

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Sleep Disorders Center, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Via Stamira d'Ancona 20, 20127 Milano, Italy.


The aims of this study were to assess cognitive function in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients and to evaluate the effect of short- and long-term treatment with continuous positive airway pressure treatment (CPAP). A battery of neuropsychological tests, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and the Beck Inventory Scale were administered to 23 patients with severe OSA (age: 56.5+/-6.13; AHI: 54.9+/-13.37) and to 23 age- and education-matched controls. The OSA patients were evaluated in a baseline condition and in two follow-up treatment sessions (after 15 days and 4 months of CPAP, respectively). At baseline, OSA patients had a significant impairment, compared to controls, in tests of sustained attention, visuospatial learning, executive function, motor performance, and constructional abilities. The longitudinal evaluation showed that after a 15-days CPAP treatment attentive, visuospatial learning, and motor performances returned to normal levels. A 4-months CPAP treatment did not result in any further improvement in cognitive tests. Performance on tests evaluating executive functions and constructional abilities was not affected by short- and long-term treatment with CPAP. The findings of this study confirm the hypothesis of partial reversibility of cognitive dysfunction in OSA patients after CPAP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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