15 Mar Sleep Apnea Accelerates Aging – CPAP Therapy May Help Slow it Down
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rene Cortese, PhD
Department of Child Health – Child Health Research Institute
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health
School of Medicine
Core Faculty – MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65212
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects 22 million people in the U.S. and is linked to a higher risk of hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and many other chronic conditions.
We have found that untreated OSA also accelerates the biological aging process, and that appropriate treatment can slow or possibly reverse the trend. Age acceleration testing involves a blood test that analyzes DNA and uses an algorithm to measure a person’s biological age. The phenomenon of a person’s biological age surpassing their chronological age is called “epigenetic age acceleration” and is linked to overall mortality and to chronic diseases.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our results found that OSA-induced sleep disruptions and lower oxygen levels during sleep promoted faster biological age acceleration compared to the control group. However, the OSA patients who adhered to CPAP showed a deceleration of the epigenetic age, while the age acceleration trends did not change for the control group.
Our results suggest that biological age acceleration is at least partially reversible when effective treatment of OSA is implemented. CPAP’s success in slowing age acceleration is strong adherence to using the device for at least four hours per night.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Further research is needed to determine how age acceleration will affect clinical outcomes and how it applies to children who suffer from OSA or to other risk groups. Since children with OSA are treated differently from adults, so this research raises a lot of questions. We need to learn more about the mechanisms and the biology behind these findings. It’s very exciting and thought-provoking research.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Our study, “Epigenetic Age Acceleration in Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Reversible with Adherent Treatment,” was recently published in the European Respiratory Journal. Besides myself, the study authors include Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, MD, and David Gozal, MD from the University of Missouri, USA, as well as David Sanz-Rubio and Jose Maria Marin from the University of Zaragoza in Spain.
Our work was partially supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Tier 2 and TRIUMPH grants from the University of Missouri, and a Leda J. Sears Charitable Trust grant. There are no conflicts of interests to disclose.
Rene Cortese, David Sanz-Rubio, Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, José Maria Marin, David Gozal. Epigenetic age acceleration in obstructive sleep apnea is reversible with adherent treatment. European Respiratory Journal, 2022; 2103042 DOI: 10.1183/13993003.03042-2021
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