Nav: Home

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms

March 13, 2018

FINDINGS

Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between thinning of the brain's cerebral cortex and apnea symptoms. The researchers also could discern distinct changes in brain structures and concurrent symptoms that differed between men and women. For example, more regions of the superior frontal lobe were thinner in women with apnea than men or control groups, which might explain enhanced cognitive deficits among women with the disorder. No sleep apnea patients showed any thickening of the cerebral cortex. In addition, overall cortical thinning could possibly lead to impaired regulation of the autonomic nervous system and associated impaired breathing function through the upper airway in these patients.

BACKGROUND

Obstructive sleep apnea, which involves disruption of the upper airway, affects about 10 percent of adults. Its cause is unknown. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women, and symptoms and brain function appear to vary between men and women. However, while previous studies have made connections between brain structure changes and general clinical signs, none have definitively linked sex differences in brain structure with symptoms in sleep apnea. Left untreated, the impact of sleep apnea on brain damage progresses overtime.

METHOD

Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans, the researchers looked at cortex thickness of 12 women and 36 men who had diagnoses of mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea (who were not being treated for their condition), and compared those findings to 40 male and 22 female controls (who did not have sleep apnea). The researchers then compared clinical findings of each patient with evidence of cortex thinning.

IMPACT

The study is one of the first to underscore significant clinical differences between men and women with sleep apnea, and points to the need for different treatment approaches to address these varied symptoms. The greater cortex injury in cognitive centers of women's brains may underlie their more common cognitive problems compared with men, while thinning associated with both men and women who have sleep apnea may be behind the disordered breathing seen between both. It is not clear whether these physical brain changes precede the sleep apnea disorder, or worsen sleep apnea's symptoms as the disorder progresses.
-end-
AUTHORS

UCLA's Dr. Paul Macey is lead author, associate professor at the School of Nursing, and member of the Brain Research Institute at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Other authors are Natasha Haris, Rajesh Kumar, Albert Thomas, Mary Woo and Ronald Harper, all at UCLA.

JOURNAL

The research is published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

FUNDING

The research was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research.

University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

Related Sleep Apnea Articles:

Sleep apnea and insomnia combination linked with depression
A new study found that men with sleep apnea and insomnia have a higher prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms than men with sleep apnea or insomnia alone.
Anti-nausea drug could help treat sleep apnea
An old pharmaceutical product may be a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research presented today by University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University scientists at the SLEEP 2017 annual meeting in Boston.
Sleep apnea and insomnia in African-Americans goes undiagnosed
African-Americans with sleep apnea and insomnia are rarely diagnosed with either problem, even when the severity of the two sleep disorders are likely to affect their health, according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Sleep apnea may increase atrial fibrillation risk
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Sleep apnea may increase risk of pregnancy complications
Women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appear to be at greater risk for serious pregnancy complications, longer hospital stays and even admission to the ICU than mothers without the condition, according to a new study of more than 1.5 million pregnancies presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Evidence insufficient regarding screening for obstructive sleep apnea
The US Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for obstructive sleep apnea in asymptomatic adults (including adults with unrecognized symptoms).
Regulating 'gasotransmitters' could improve care for sleep apnea
Unbalanced signaling by two molecules that regulate breathing leads to sleep apnea in mice and rats.
Sleep apnea can contribute to recurring pulmonary embolism
Researchers have found that after the first incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE), obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for PE recurrence.
Sleep apnea immediately compromises blood pressure
A single bout of sleep apnea impacts the human body's ability to regulate blood pressure.
Sleep apnea may make lung cancer more deadly
A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Barcelona has found that intermittent hypoxia, or an irregular lack of air experienced by people with sleep apnea, can increase tumor growth by promoting the release of circulating exosomes.

Related Sleep Apnea Reading:

VA Sleep Apnea Field Manual
by Chris Attig (Author)

Dental Sleep Medicine Basics: The Clinical Guide to Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
by Dds Mark Collins (Author)

NO CPAP NEEDED: CPAP Alternative Sleep Apnea Cure
by MGP & Co. Publishing

Sleep Apnea - The Phantom of the Night: Overcome sleep apnea syndrome and snoring
by T. Scott Johnson (Author), William A. Broughton (Author), Jerry Halberstadt (Author), B. Gail Demko (Author), Carl E. Hunt (Author), William Dement (Author), Colin Sullivan (Author)

Hacking Sleep Apnea and CPAP Hacks - 6th Edition [2018] 18 Strategies to Breathe & Sleep Easy Again. Includes Bonus 100+ CPAP Comfort Hacks
by RespLabs.com

Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnea: A step-by-step guide to restful sleep and better health through changing the way you breathe (No 1 in the BreatheAbility for Health series)
by Tess Graham (Author)

Freedom from Cpap: Sleep Apnea Hurts, the Cure Doesn't Have To
by David Dillard (Author), Mayoor Patel (Contributor)

Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired
by Steven Y. Park MD (Author)

The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox: How We Are Sleeping Our Way to Fatigue, Disease and Unhappiness
by Dr. Mark Burhenne (Author)

Sleep Apnea Book: Secrets of Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cure, Exercises, Machine and Pillow Advice (Sleep Apnea, Sleep Apnea Books, Sleep Apnea Cure, Sleep ... Sleep Apnea Machine, Sleep Secre)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Circular
We're told if the economy is growing, and if we keep producing, that's a good thing. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers explore circular systems that regenerate and re-use what we already have. Guests include economist Kate Raworth, environmental activist Tristram Stuart, landscape architect Kate Orff, entrepreneur David Katz, and graphic designer Jessi Arrington.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#504 The Art of Logic
How can mathematics help us have better arguments? This week we spend the hour with "The Art of Logic in an Illogical World" author, mathematician Eugenia Cheng, as she makes her case that the logic of mathematics can combine with emotional resonance to allow us to have better debates and arguments. Along the way we learn a lot about rigorous logic using arguments you're probably having every day, while also learning a lot about our own underlying beliefs and assumptions.