Tuesday October 22, 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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Severe Sleep Apnea Linked to Vision Loss in Diabetic Patients

This condition is called 'Diabetic Retinopathy' and is a leading cause of blindness in the US

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Sleep Apnea, Vision, Diabetic
Based on the results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema. Pixabay

Severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for developing diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss or blindness, a study said.

For the study, the research team looked at the data from all patients diagnosed over an 8-year period at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan.

“Based on the results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema,” said study researcher Juifan Chiang from Taiwan.

This condition is called ‘Diabetic Retinopathy’ and is a leading cause of blindness in the US.

Sleep Apnea, Vision, Diabetic
For the study, the research team looked at the data from all patients diagnosed over an 8-year period at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Pixabay

Diabetic macular edema is more difficult to treat in patients with severe sleep apnea, the researchers said.

When diabetics have poor control over the blood sugar levels, tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye can become damaged.

Sometimes, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels, leaking fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling or edema in an area of the retina that allows us to see clearly.

According to the researchers, sleep apnea may contribute to the development and worsening of Diabetic Retinopathy by increasing insulin resistance, elevating inflammation and raising blood pressure, all of which can damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye.

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They found the rate of severe sleep apnea was significantly higher in patients with diabetic macular edema compared with those without diabetic macular edema (80.6 per cent vs. 45.5 per cent).

They also found that the worse their sleep apnea was, the worse their macular edema.

Severe sleep apnea was also more prevalent in patients who needed more treatment to control their macular edema.

The study was presented at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in the US. (IANS)