Wednesday March 27, 2019

Sleep Apnea Linked with Alzheimer’s Marker: Study

The researchers identified 43 participants, 15 per cent of the study group, whose bed partners witnessed apneas when they were sleeping

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A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr

Researchers have found a link between sleep apnea and increased levels of a toxic brain protein commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings suggests that people suffering from sleep apnea may have higher accumulations of an Alzheimer’s disease biomarker called tau in an area of the brain that helps with memory.

Those who had apneas had on average 4.5 per cent higher levels of tau in the entorhinal cortex than those who did not have apneas, suggests the study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Tau, a protein that forms into tangles, is found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our research results raise the possibility that sleep apnea affects tau accumulation. But it is also possible that higher levels of tau in other regions may predispose a person to sleep apnea,” said co-author Diego Z. Carvalho from Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic.

According to the researchers, obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that involves frequent events of stopped breathing during sleep, although an apnea may also be a single event of paused breathing during sleep.

"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol's role in Alzheimer's disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta," Vendruscolo said.
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

“A person normally has fewer than five episodes of apnea per hour during sleep,” Carvalho added.

For the study, the research team involved 288 people of age 65 and older who did not have cognitive impairment.Bed partners were asked whether they had witnessed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep.

Participants had positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans to look for accumulation of tau tangles in the entorhinal cortex area of the brain, an area of the brain in the temporal lobe that is more likely to accumulate tau than some other areas.

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This area of the brain helps manage memory, navigation and perception of time.

The researchers identified 43 participants, 15 per cent of the study group, whose bed partners witnessed apneas when they were sleeping. (IANS)

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Eye Test May Help in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

Conversely, in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer's disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

A future non-invasive eye test may allow early detection of Alzheimer’s disease before memory loss kicks in, say a team led by an Indian-origin researcher.

Retina being an extension of the brain, the optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) will check patients’ vision as well as brain health, said the study published in the journal Ophthalmology Retina.

The researchers said that loss of blood vessels in retina would reflect changes in the brain, be it for both healthy people or Alzheimer’s patients.

“We know that there are changes that occur in the brain in the small blood vessels in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and because the retina is an extension of the brain, we wanted to investigate whether these changes could be detected,” said lead author Dilraj S. Grewal, ophthalmologist at Duke University.

Using the OCTA that uses light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina, the researches checked more than 200 people.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

They found that in people with healthy brains, microscopic blood vessels form a dense web at the back of the eye inside the retina — as was seen in 133 participants in a control group.

Conversely, in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer’s disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places.

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The OCTA machines, relatively a new noninvasive technology, measures blood vessels that cannot be seen during a regular eye examination.

“It’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition,” added Sharon Fekrat, ophthalmologist at the Duke University in the US. (IANS)