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Brain Health

Science underestimated dangerous effects of sleep deprivation – Science Daily

By Brain Health, Sleep Science, Workplace Productivity and Safety No Comments

Researchers at Michigan State University conducted a large study to explore the impact of sleep deprivation on higher-order cognitive processes.   

Previous research has shown how sleep deprivation can impair a person’s ability to follow a procedure and maintain attention. The new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, is the first of its kind to assess how sleep deprivation impacts ‘placekeeping’ – or, the ‘ability to complete a series of steps without losing one’s place, despite potential interruptions.’ 

The study found that when sleep deprived, participants were twice as likely to make placekeeping errors, and showed three times as many lapses in attention.

Sleep Apnea Tied to Mood Disorders – The New York Times

By Brain Health, Sleep Apnea No Comments

Researchers have found that sleep apnea may increase the risk of developing affective mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

A recent study published in JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery  followed 985 participants for an average of nine years. Over the course of the study, individuals with obstructive sleep apnea were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with depression, and nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety as those in the control group. Women with sleep apnea were more likely to develop a mood disorder than men.

The researchers concluded that further study of this association “may yield strategies for effective prevention and intervention practices.”

Treating Sleep Apnea Greatly Improves Stroke Patients’ Recovery – Sleep Review

By Brain Health, Heart Health, Sleep Apnea No Comments

A large study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that starting treatment for sleep apnea as early as possible after a stroke or a mini-stroke significantly improves recovery and clinical outcome.

According to the lead author, Dawn Bravata, MD, “We have shown, for the first time in a randomized controlled study, that for individuals who have had a stroke or a TIA—a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke— the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP therapy provides significant benefits, even greater than the benefits of tPA [tissue plasminogen activator], the FDA-approved drug treatment for stroke.” 

The study followed 252 individuals who had strokes or TIAs for up to one year after the event. Two-thirds of the study participants were effectively using CPAP therapy for sleep apnea. Preliminary data suggests that the earlier sleep apnea was treated in stroke patients, the more potent the effect of that treatment. 

Sleep disorder linked with changes to brain structure typical of dementia – Science Daily

By Brain Health, Sleep Apnea No Comments

According to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with structural changes in the brain that are also found in the early stages of dementia.

The study evaluated 83 people, aged 51 to 88 years, who had reported cognitive decline. Findings showed that patients who had low levels of blood oxygen during sleep tended to have reduced thickness in the left and right temporal lobes of the brain, and that this alteration was associated with poorer encoding of new information. In addition, the researchers observed that patients with signs of OSA were more likely to have increased thickness in other areas of the brain.

The authors are continuing their research to determine whether diagnosing and treating OSA could prevent, or even improve cognitive decline in its early stages.