Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cortisol Levels Predict Neurocognitive Impairment in OSA

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cortisol Levels Predict Neurocognitive Impairment in OSA

Article excerpt

FROM SLEEP MEDICINE

Nocturnal cortisol levels explained up to 16% of changes in learning, memory, and working memory in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, a study showed.

But severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) did not predict neurocognitive impairment, said Dr. Kate M. Edwards of the University of Sydney, and her associates, who conducted the study at the University of California, San Diego.

"These findings suggest that OSA-related alterations in [hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal] activity may play a key role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychologic impairments in OSA," the investigators wrote (Sleep Med. 2014;15:27-32).

They enrolled 55 men and women with OSA and measured blood cortisol levels every 2 hours for 24 hours. The patients underwent polysomnography the next night and took a battery of tests to assess seven cognitive domains. The oxygen desaturation index (ODI) was used as an index of OSA severity.

In univariate analyses, the mean apnea-hypopnea index, ODI, and nighttime cortisol levels were significantly associated with global deficit scores and particularly with domains of learning, memory, and working memory, said the investigators. In hierarchical linear regression analyses, nighttime cortisol levels accounted for 9%-16% of variance in the three domains, while ODI (apnea) severity did not predict additional variance, they reported. …

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