Article Text

Short report
Treatment of sleep apnoea syndrome decreases cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease
  1. Anne-Cécile Troussière1,2,3,
  2. Christelle Monaca Charley1,2,4,
  3. Julia Salleron1,5,
  4. Florence Richard1,5,6,
  5. Xavier Delbeuck1,2,3,
  6. Philippe Derambure1,2,4,
  7. Florence Pasquier1,2,3,
  8. Stéphanie Bombois1,2,3
  1. 1University Lille North of France, CHU, Lille, France
  2. 2EA 1046, Lille, France
  3. 3Memory Clinic, Lille, France
  4. 4Department of Neurophysiology and Sleep Unit, Lille, France
  5. 5Department of Public Health and Biostatistic Unit, Lille, France
  6. 6INSERM UMR 744, Institut Pasteur, Lille, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stéphanie Bombois, Memory Clinic, Roger Salengro Hospital, Rue Emile Laine, Lille F-59037, France; stephanie.bombois{at}


Background It is essential to detect and then treat factors that aggravate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we sought to determine whether or not continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for sleep apnoea syndrome (SAS) slows the rate of cognitive decline in mild-to-moderate AD patients.

Methods Between January 2003 and June 2011, we included consecutive, mild-to-moderate AD patients (a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score at inclusion ≥15) with severe SAS as determined by video-polysomnography (an apnoea-hypopnoea index ≥30). In this single-blind, proof-of-concept trial, we analysed the mean decline in the annual MMSE score (the main outcome measure) according to whether or not the patients had received CPAP therapy. The decline was computed for each patient and for the first 3 years of follow-up.

Results Of the 23 included patients, 14 underwent CPAP treatment. The CPAP and non-CPAP groups did not differ significantly in terms of their demographic characteristics or MMSE score at baseline. The median annual MMSE decline was significantly slower in the CPAP group (−0.7 (−1.7; +0.8)) than in the non-CPAP group (−2.2 (−3.3; −1.9); p=0.013).

Conclusions In this pilot study, CPAP treatment of severe SAS in mild-to-moderate AD patients was associated with significantly slower cognitive decline over a three-year follow-up period. Our results emphasise the importance of detecting and treating SAS in this population.

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cognition
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • CSF

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Supplementary materials

  • Supplementary Data

    This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.

    Files in this Data Supplement: