Structural Brain Changes in Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman sleeping” by Timothy Krause is licensed under CC BY 2.0Nathan E. Cross PhD, first author
School of Psychology.
Sharon L. Naismith, PhD, senior author
Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology
Brain and Mind Centre
Neurosleep, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
The University of Sydney, Australia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Between 30 to 50% of the risk for dementia is due to modifiable risk factors such depression, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

In recent years, multiple longitudinal cohort studies have observed a link between sleep apnoea and a greater risk (1.85 to 2.6 times more likely) of developing cognitive decline and dementia.  Furthermore, one study in over 8000 people also indicated that the presence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in older adults was associated with an earlier age of cognitive decline, and that treatment of OSA may delay the onset of cognitive impairment.

This study reveals important insights into how sleep disorders such as OSA may impact the brain in older adults, as it is associated with widespread structural alterations in diverse brain regions. We found that reduced blood oxygen levels during sleep are related to reduced thickness of the brain’s cortex in both the left and right temporal areas – regions that are important in memory and are early sites of injury in Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, reduced thickness in these regions was associated with poorer ability to learn new information, thereby being the first to link this structural change to memory decline. Continue reading

Sleep Apnea Increases Amyloid Load In Brain, A Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ricardo S Osorio MD Center for Brain Health Department of Psychiatry Center of Excellence on Brain Aging NYU Langone Medical Center New York, NY 10016, USA

Dr. Osorio

Ricardo S Osorio MD
Center for Brain Health
Department of Psychiatry
Center of Excellence on Brain Aging
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York, NY 10016, USA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was a study that was performed in a group of healthy normal elderly from the community that volunteered for studies on memory and aging.

The main findings were that sleep apnea was very common, in almost all cases undiagnosed, and that it was associated with a longitudinal increase in amyloid burden which is considered one of the hallmark lesions of Alzheimer’s disease

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Task Force Finds Insufficient Evidence To Screen All Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alex Krist, MD MPH Task Force member Associate Professor Fairfax Family Medicine Residency Co-director, Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Alex Krist

Dr. Alex Krist, MD MPH
Task Force member
Associate Professor
Fairfax Family Medicine Residency
Co-director, Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network
Virginia Commonwealth University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been found to be associated with serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, OSA can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, increase involvement in motor vehicle crashes, and lead to an increased risk of death. Estimates show that OSA affected between 10 and 15% of the U.S. population in the 1990s, and rates may have increased over the past 20 years, so the Task Force wanted to examine the evidence on screening adults without symptoms or symptoms for obstructive sleep apnea.

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