Sleep apnea treatment may reverse unhealthy brain changes

September 15, 2015
Sleep apnea treatment may reverse unhealthy brain changes
In small study, continuous positive airway pressure reduced nerve activity that causes heart ills.

(HealthDay)—Sleep apnea treatment may reverse changes in brain stem activity associated with increased risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.

The findings "highlight the effectiveness of CPAP treatment in reducing one of the most significant health issues [] associated with obstructive sleep apnea," the researchers concluded. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.

Previous research suggests that people with obstructive sleep apnea have greater activity in nerves associated with stress response, which can lead to and heart problems. This increased nerve activity is due to altered brain stem function caused by sleep apnea, earlier studies have shown.

In this small study, published recently in the Journal of Neurophysiology, Australian researchers found that CPAP treatment reduced that by restoring normal brain stem function.

The study included 13 sleep apnea patients who were assessed before and after six months of CPAP treatment.

"These data strongly suggest that functional and anatomical changes within the brain stem, which we believe underlie the elevated sympathetic activity in individuals with untreated obstructive sleep apnea, can be restored to healthy levels by CPAP treatment," the University of Sydney researchers wrote.

In , muscles in the airway collapse during sleep and block breathing. A CPAP device keeps airways open by delivering a steady flow of air while patients sleep.

Explore further: Atrial fibrillation recurrence lower with sleep apnea treatment

More information: The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about CPAP.

Related Stories

Atrial fibrillation recurrence lower with sleep apnea treatment

April 20, 2015
The use of continuous positive airway pressure was associated with a significant reduction in the recurrence of atrial fibrillation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, according to an analysis of data from past research ...

Obstructive sleep apnea treatments may reduce depressive symptoms

November 25, 2014
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) can lead to modest improvements in depressive symptoms, according to a study published by Marcus ...

Study links obstructive sleep apnea to blood vessel abnormalities

July 11, 2011
Obstructive sleep apnea may cause changes in blood vessel function that reduces blood supply to the heart in people who are otherwise healthy, according to new research reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart ...

Researchers provide first evidence of how obstructive sleep apnea damages the brain

September 1, 2015
UCLA researchers have reported the first evidence that obstructive sleep apnea contributes to a breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, which plays an important role in protecting brain tissue.

Rising prevalence of sleep apnea in US threatens public health

September 29, 2014
Public health and safety are threatened by the increasing prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, which now afflicts at least 25 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Several ...

CPAP superior to supplemental oxygen for BP reduction in obstructive sleep apnea

June 11, 2014
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the most widely prescribed therapy for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, resulted in significantly lower blood pressure compared to either nocturnal supplemental oxygen or an ...

Recommended for you

Synthetic cannabinoid reduces sleep apnea

November 29, 2017
A synthetic version of a molecule found in the cannabis plant was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large, multi-site study of a drug for the sleep disorder funded by the National Institutes ...

Sleeping through the snoring: Researchers identify neurons that rouse the brain to breathe

November 2, 2017
A common and potentially serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea affects at least one quarter of U.S. adults and is linked to increased risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. In a paper published today ...

Remede system approved for sleep apnea

October 9, 2017
(HealthDay)—The Remede sleep system, an implanted device that treats central sleep apnea by activating a nerve that sends signals to the diaphragm to stimulate breathing, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Inflammation may precede sleep apnea, could be treatment target

September 1, 2017
Inflammation is traditionally thought of as a symptom of sleep apnea, but it might actually precede the disorder, potentially opening the door for new ways to treat and predict sleep apnea, according to researchers.

More evidence: Untreated sleep apnea shown to raise metabolic and cardiovascular stress

August 31, 2017
Sleep apnea, left untreated for even a few days, can increase blood sugar and fat levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, according to a new study of sleeping subjects. A report of the study's findings, published in the ...

Sleep patterns contribute to racial differences in disease risk

August 18, 2017
Poor sleep patterns could explain, in part, the differences in the risk of cardiometabolic disease between African-Americans and European-Americans, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.