Multiple sclerosis looks different from person to person. In many individuals, though, the difficulty in maintaining a sense of self and in keeping up intellectually can be the disease's most devastating manifestations.
With this in mind, University of Michigan researchers are exploring a new way to improve cognitive issues, such as memory, attention and mental processing in MS patients: by examining sleep. A U-M pilot study published in Sleep is the first to find an association between sleep apnea severity and cognitive dysfunction in patients with MS.
"Since obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition that is also commonly seen in MS, we wondered, 'What if some of the thinking and processing difficulties that MS patients experience do not stem directly from the MS itself, but from the effects of sleep apnea or other sleep problems?'" says IHPI memberTiffany Braley, M.D., M.S., the principal investigator and co-first author of the study.