Scientists have found a link between sleep apnea and dementia.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco and California Pacific Medical Center have discovered sleep apnea may cause cognitive impairment, which may even lead to dementia.

Researchers looked at senior women who suffered from sleep apnea and other nighttime disorders. Those with sleep/breathing issues were found to have a much higher potential for developing cognitive impariment within a five year span than those without the sleep problems.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The extent of information has been limited before, because the studies were based on people with advanced dementia, who, surprise, surprise, had sleep problems," Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at UCSF commented. "It's been hard to tell what's the chicken and what's the egg. This study isn't proof-positive, but it's much stronger than earlier studies. What we're seeing is a nearly twofold increase of having cognitive problems five years later."