As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: September 3, 2015
by Sleep Review Magazine:
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have reported evidence that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – the most common type of sleep apnea – contributes to a breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, which plays an important role in protecting brain tissue.
The discovery, reported in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroimaging, could lead to new approaches for treating OSA.
The blood-brain barrier limits harmful bacteria, infection, and chemicals from reaching the brain. Studies have found that compromised blood-brain barrier function is associated with significant brain damage in stroke, epilepsy, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
“We found that the blood-brain barrier becomes more permeable in obstructive sleep apnea, a breakdown that could contribute to brain injury, as well as potentially enhancing or accelerating the damage,” says Rajesh Kumar, the study’s principal investigator and an associate professor in the departments of anesthesiology and radiological sciences at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, in a release. “This type of brain injury in obstructive sleep apnea has significant consequences to memory, mood, and cardiovascular risk, but physicians and researchers have developed pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic strategies to repair blood-brain barrier function in other conditions.”
Thanks in part to research conducted at UCLA over the past 12 years, experts have known that the gasping during the night that characterizes OSA can damage the brain in ways that lead to high blood pressure, depression, memory loss, and anxiety. It also can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, thanks to the constant nighttime interruptions, and can lead to stroke, diabetes, and loss of testosterone and endocrine-related problems.
The damage to the brain likely stems in part from the reduction of oxygen to the body as a result of the repeated breathing interruptions. But doctors do not yet fully understand exactly what causes the brain injury and how it progresses. While previous studies have found that reduced exposure to oxygen and high blood pressure can affect the blood-brain barrier, which in turn can introduce or enhance brain tissue injury, Kumar and his colleagues show that this breakdown occurs in OSA.
The finding was made possible by a magnetic resonance imaging procedure that is used by only a handful of research teams in the world. The noninvasive procedure uses the brain’s own blood and fluids to measure the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier.
In the new study, the authors found that in patients who had recently been diagnosed with OSA and not yet treated, the permeability of the blood-brain barrier was significantly higher than it was in healthy people.
“This suggests that besides improving breathing in obstructive sleep apnea patients, we need to repair or improve blood-brain barrier function, perhaps by using treatments already available for other conditions,” says Kumar, who is also a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute and holds a faculty appointment in UCLA’s department of bioengineering.
Kumar notes that the study was small—nine people with OSA were compared to nine healthy controls. Now, in addition to confirming these findings in a larger population of OSA patients, the researchers are planning to study whether strategies known to be effective in overcoming blood-brain barrier breakdown in people who have had a stroke and other neurological conditions can also help minimize brain injury in people with OSA or other long-standing respiratory problems.
It has long been known that vitamin D – often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” – is one of the most essential vitamins for our overall health because it regulates calcium in the body...
SWEAT IT OUT Sauna bathing, a form of passive heat therapy, is a traditional activity in Finland that is primarily used for relaxation purposes and is becoming increasingly common in many other populations. The typical...
Has anyone ever suggested that you take a deep breath to help you relax when you are feeling anxious or stressed? That advice has roots in the wisdom of ancient yogic teachings. Breathing – that...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.