Nightmares are common in the general population. About 5% of adults experience them weekly, and another 12-40% monthly. Given its ubiquity, it is surprising that its clinical importance remains largely unknown.
While recent studies have shown that distressing dreams become more frequent with advancing age and are associated with poor cognitive function cross-sectionally, no study has investigated whether they may be associated with cognitive decline and dementia longitudinally.
Research from the University of Birmingham (UK) tested the hypothesis that a higher frequency of nightmares in middle-aged and older adults without cognitive impairment or Parkinson’s disease (PD) would be positively associated with faster rates of cognitive decline. And an increased risk of developing dementia over time. This theory was tested using longitudinal data from three population-based cohorts from the United States.
The association between self-reported frequency of distressing dreams (“never,” “less than once a week,” “weekly”) and subsequent cognitive outcomes were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
After adjusting for all covariates, a higher frequency of distressing dreams was linearly and statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline among middle-aged adults (P for trend = 0.016) and increased risk of dementia from all causes among older adults (P for trend <0¢001). Compared to the control group, they had a 4-fold increased risk of experiencing a cognitive decline (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3¢99; 95% CI: 1¢07, 14¢85). Among older adults of older adults, the difference in dementia risk was 2¢2-fold (aOR = 2¢21; 95% CI: 1¢35, 3¢62).
Interestingly, the study found that the associations were much more vital for men than women. For example, older men who experienced nightmares weekly were five times more likely to develop dementia than those who did not. In women, however, the increased risk was only 41%.
The following steps of the research will include investigating whether nightmares among young people could be associated with the risk of dementia later in life and whether other characteristics of dreams, such as how often we remember them and how vivid they are, could also be used. To identify it.
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