Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Syndrome is a relatively frequent sleep disorder characterized by disrupted sleep patterns. It is a well-established fact that sleep has beneficial effect on memory consolidation by enhancing neural plasticity. Implicit sequence learning is a prominent component of skill learning. However, the formation and consolidation of this fundamental learning mechanism remains poorly understood in OSA. In the present study we examined the consolidation of different aspects of implicit sequence learning in patients with OSA. We used the Alternating Serial Reaction Time task to measure general skill learning and sequence-specific learning. There were two sessions: a learning phase and a testing phase, separated by a 10-hour offline period with sleep. Our data showed differences in offline changes of general skill learning between the OSA and control group. The control group demonstrated offline improvement from evening to morning, while the OSA group did not. In contrast, we did not observe differences between the groups in offline changes in sequencespecific learning. Our findings suggest that disrupted sleep in OSA differently affects neural circuits involved in the consolidation of sequence learning.
Csabi, E., Varszegi-Schulz, M., Janacsek, K., Malecek, N., & Nemeth, D. (2014). The consolidation of implicit sequence memory in obstructive sleep apnea. PLoS ONE, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0109010