May 18, 2009 12:19:37 pm
A new Australian research has revealed that people with sleep apnoea who snore are more prone to severely impair their brain function.
The changes in brain biochemistry linked to obstructive sleep apnoea have been compared to changes evident in people who have “had a severe stroke or who are dying”,researchers at NSW University said.
“It used to be thought that apnoeic snoring had absolutely no acute effects on brain function but this is plainly not true,” lead author of the study,Caroline Rae,was quoted by AAP report.
The impairment is thought to be the result of a lack of oxygen reaching the brain during extended pauses in breathing a common characteristic of severe sleep apnoea.
Researchers studied the brains of 13 men with severe,untreated,obstructive sleep apnoea and found that even a slight lack of oxygen supply to the brain had an effect.
Rae said it remained unknown why the lack of oxygen causes a change in brain chemistry.
“The brain could be basically resetting its bioenergetics to make itself more resistant to lack of oxygen,” she said adding “it may be a compensatory mechanism to keep you alive,we just don’t know. But even if it is,it’s not likely to be doing you much good.”
Upto one-in-four middle-aged men are affected by sleep apnoea,with about three per cent going on to experience a severe form of the condition.
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