There is increasing evidence suggesting that sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s clinical syndrome. The objective of this research is to determine the brain changes associated with the presence of SDB in cognitively-impaired individuals.

This is a cross-sectional study conducted using data from Age-Well randomized clinical trial between 2016 and 2018. A total of 157 participants were assessed, and the outcomes were based on the apnea-hypopnea index cutoff of 15 events per hour. The participants were as having SDB or not and their association with developing Alzheimer’s clinical syndrome. The secondary analyses focused on identifying the SDB parameter that conducted to brain changes.

Out of 157 participants, 127 were analyzed in the study. The mean age of the participants was 69.1 years, and 80 participants were women. The researchers found that participants with SDB showed more significant amyloid burden, grey matter volume, percussion, and metabolism, overlapping primarily over the precuneus and cingulate cortex. No association was established between SDB and cognition, self-reported cognitive difficulties, or excessive daytime sleepiness.

The research concluded that SDB-associated brain changes in cognitively-impaired older adults include higher amyloid deposition and neuronal activity. The changes were reported in Alzheimer disease–sensitive brain regions, mainly precuneus and cingulate cortex.