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Insomnia and increased sleep apnea in women with MS

By Cara Murez

health day reporter

MONDAY, March 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — While declining thinking may be a common symptom of multiple sclerosis in women, new research suggests that sleep, or lack thereof, could be making matters worse.

“Sleep disorders have gained substantial recognition for their role in cognitive impairment. [thinking] decline, which affects up to 70% of people with multiple sclerosis,” explained study author Dr. Tiffany Braley, director of the division of multiple sclerosis/neuroimmunology and fatigue clinic. and MS Sleep from the University of Michigan Health.

“Our results highlighted important pathways between sleep and perceptions of cognitive function in women with MS,” Braley said in a university press release. “We have previously identified important associations between objective cognitive performance and sleep in people with MS, but little is known about how sleep and MS interact together to impact long-term cognitive outcomes, in particular particularly in women who are less likely to be diagnosed with sleep disorders.

Using data from more than 60,000 women in the 2013 and 2017 waves of the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers found that women with MS were more likely than those without MS to report sleep disturbances such as as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and somnolence.

Sleep disorders identified in 2013 contributed to thinking problems reported by women with MS in 2017, including memory and the ability to follow instructions and conversations, according to the authors.

Sleep apnea accounted for 34% of the total effect between MS and the ability to follow instructions, the study found.

The results were recently published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

“With this longitudinal study design, we are able to better estimate the burden of sleep disorders among nurses, compared to similarly sized health care claims data, which includes those diagnosed with sleep disorders. sleep,” said study lead author Galit Levi Dunietz, associate. Professor in the Division of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Neurology at Michigan Medicine.

“However, because sleep disorders are often underdiagnosed, health care claims data is lacking for many people with sleep disorders who have not been evaluated for these conditions,” Dunietz said in the communicated.

Interventions to delay thinking problems may be more effective in the pre-symptomatic or early symptomatic stages, Braley noted.

“Perceived cognitive decline, even in the absence of objective changes, could be an important window of opportunity to identify treatable aggravating factors, such as sleep disturbances,” she said.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has more information about declining thinking in people with MS.

SOURCE: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, press release, March 21, 2023

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