Sleep improves memory in Parkinson’s patients

A recent study in the field of sleep is good news for those suffering from Parkinson’s. The findings suggest that getting a good night’s sleep can improve memory in those with the debilitating disease.

Common Parkinson’s symptoms include trembling, slowness and impaired balance. However patients with Parkinson’s may also experience problems with their “working memory” –  the ability to store and manipulate information, rather than simply repeat it. Using working memory is important in everyday problem solving, planning, and independent living.

The study, completed by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, examined 54 Parkinson’s patients and found that they performed much better on a working memory test after they’d had a good night’s sleep. The study  also found that sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can interfere with working memory. In fact, those participants with sleep apnea symptoms did not see any improvement to their working memory.

The findings highlight the importance of sleep quality in patients with Parkinson’s, and also underline the need to address sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Improvements to working memory can improve day-to-day life.

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