Obstructive sleep apnea linked to increased risk of dementia, Study finds
According to recent research, investigators have found that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been linked to an increase in a protein, called beta-amyloid, that builds upon the walls of the arteries in the brain and in turn, increases the risk of dementia.
OSA is a common sleep disorder, affecting about 1 billion people worldwide and is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep, resulting in intermittent dips in oxygen levels and arousals from sleep. The OSA group recorded a higher amyloid burden, poorer sleep efficiency and less time spent in stage N3 sleep (a regenerative period where your body heals and repairs itself).
Few studies have cross-sectionally examined whether clinically-confirmed OSA is associated with a higher brain amyloid burden.
Therefore, Jackson, Melinda L, and associates from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Australia conducted the present study to compare brain amyloid burden in individuals with untreated OSA and healthy controls, and explore associations between amyloid burden and polysomnographic and subjective measures of sleep, demographics, and mood.
The authors assessed 34 individuals with OSA with a mean age 57.5±4.1 y including 19 males and 12 controls (mean age 58.5±4.2 y; 6 males) who underwent a clinical polysomnogram and an 11C-PiB positron emission tomography (PET) scan to quantify amyloid burden.
The following findings were noted-
a. Amyloid burden was elevated in the OSA group relative to controls, and was significantly higher in those with severe OSA relative to mild/moderate OSA.
b. Correlation analyses indicated that higher amyloid burden was associated with a higher Non-REM apnea hypopnea index, poorer sleep efficiency, and less time spent in stage N3 sleep, when controlling for age.
"The significance of finding the association between increased brain amyloid in patients with OSA will allow for further research to explore in more detail the implications of treating OSA for reducing dementia risk," Dr. Jackson said.
Hence, the authors thereby concluded that "severe OSA is associated with a modest elevation of brain amyloid, the significance of which should be further investigated to explore the implications for dementia risk."
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