Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder of breathing during sleep. It can lead to both sleep fragmentation and hypoxia, it has a negative impact on cardiovascular functioning, and it is associated with various neurobiological, cognitive, and emotional sequelae. OSA is underdiagnosed in the general population, and even following successful diagnosis the most popular treatment (positive airway pressure [PAP] devices) is not always well tolerated, leading to low treatment adherence. Given that OSA impacts the brain and behavior, that it is underdiagnosed, and that successful intervention requires a significant behavior change (e.g., PAP adherence), neuropsychologists have a significant role to play in this public health issue. In the current episode, John and Ryan speak with Dr. Mark Aloia about various aspects of OSA, including an in-depth discussion of cognitive/emotional effects of the condition, as well as motivational interviewing techniques to improve PAP adherence.
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- OSA definition and a brief description of other types of sleep apnea
- Diagnosis and epidemiology
- Polysomnography and self-report questionnaires
- Common cognitive and emotional symptoms
- Physiological consequences and underlying mechanisms of cognitive/emotional sequelae
- Overview of positive airway pressure (PAP) devices
- Motivational interviewing for improving adherence to PAP devices
- Additional (non-PAP) treatment options
- Recommendations for clinical neuropsychologists in terms of assessment and treatment
Mark Aloia, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. He is also involved in industry research with Philips, Inc.
Note: The International Neuropsychological Society and Navigating Neuropsychology do not have a financial relationship with Philips and do not endorse their products/services.
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