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Cognitive dysfunction and sleep disorders 

Cognitive dysfunction and sleep disorders
Cognitive dysfunction and sleep disorders

Chris Dodds

, Chandra M. Kumar

, and Frédérique Servin

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date: 26 January 2022

Cognitive dysfunction is largely a problem in the elderly, but it can occur at any age. The two major presentations, delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), are compared. Risks for delirium are explored; key points from the patient’s history and possible ways to ameliorate the onset are then reviewed. The presentation of POCD is described, and the lack of our understanding of its causes is highlighted. Known triggers such as centrally active anticholinergic drugs or pain are identified. Current thinking in the inflammatory responses within microglia and astrocytes is summarized. Sleep in the elderly is contrasted with that in younger persons, and the main stages of sleep, SWS and REM, described. The impact and importance of the effects that surgery/anaesthesia has on sleep stages is reviewed. Obstructive sleep apnoea is described, including its effect on the safety of anaesthesia and recovery. Periodic limb movement disorders and early Parkinson disease are described.

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