A study of 22 patients with obstructivesleep apnea or other sleep issuesfound that the patients also had a highdegree of attention-deficit problems, aswell as neuromuscular and psychiatricconditions. During the study, theresearchers evaluated the degree ofsleep apnea as well as the level ofattention impairment.
The results, reported at the AmericanCollege of Chest Physicians meeting(October 25, 2004), indicated that 55%of the participants showed significantattention impairment at the study's onsetbut improved dramatically after receivingcontinuous positive airway pressuretreatment. The treatment requires thepatient to wear a facial mask that createsenough pressure to keep the airwayopen. On the other hand, 18% ofthe patients still had serious attentiondeficitproblems even after treatment.Further testing found that a majority ofthe patients also had such conditions asfibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression,and bipolar disorder.
The findings have importance forpsychologists and psychiatristsbecause [they say that,] if you have aperson with an attention-deficit impairment,you've got to do a history thatincludes the possibility of sleep apneaand the possibility of other sleep disorders,"said study author Clifford G.Risk, MD. "If you don't do that, youmay miss the diagnosis."