Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affects a Person’s Ability to Form Memories

obstructive sleep apnea

Recent research finds that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may affect a person’s ability to form memories about life. Researchers believe that this dysfunction can be a sign of depression.

For the study, a team of researchers examined 44 adults with OSA who were not treating the condition, and 44 healthy adults without OSA. The researchers analyzed their abilities to recall different memories from childhood, early adult lives, and recent events.

Having analyzed the received data, the scientists found that more than 52% of the participants with the condition had overgeneral memories compared to less than 19% of healthy participants with overgeneral memories.

Dr. Jackson, a senior research fellow at RMIT's School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, comments: “Our study suggests sleep apnea may impair the brain's capacity to either encode or consolidate certain types of life memories, which makes it hard for people to recall details from the past. Brain scans of people with sleep apnoea show they have a significant loss of grey matter from regions that overlap with the autobiographical memory network.”

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