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Treating sleep apnoea in Alzheimer’s patients helps cognition

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment seems to improve cognitive functioning in patients with Alzheimer’s disease who also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, according to the results of a randomized clinical trial conducted at the University of California, San Diego. The study – led by Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and one of the nation’s preeminent experts in the field of sleep disorders and sleep research in aging populations – was published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The research team, including physicians from UC San Diego’s departments of psychiatry, medicine, neurosciences and family and preventive medicine, and Veteran’s Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, looked at 52 men and women with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep, caused by a temporary, partial, or complete blockage in the airway. The prevalence of OSA in patients with dementia has been estimated to be as high as 70 to 80 percent.

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CPAP reduces incidence of cardiovascular events and hypertension in OSA patients

In non-sleepy patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events and hypertension, according to researchers from Spain.

The research will be presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

‘Our study showed that even in non-sleepy OSA patients, CPAP usage could reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events and hypertension,’ said Ferran Barbe Illa, M.D., of the Hospital Arnau de Vilanova in Lleida, Spain. ‘We found a statistically significant decrease for those subjects that use CPAP for at least four hours a night.’

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition characterised by repeated episodes of upper airway obstruction during sleep, nocturnal hypoxemia and excessive daytime sleepiness. OSA is also known to be associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke.

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Fatigue and tiredness in people with OSA improve with CPAP treatment

FA study in the 15 June issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that the complaints of fatigue and tiredness in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) improved significantly with good adherence to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, suggesting that – like the symptom of excessive daytime sleepiness – these complaints are important symptoms of OSA.

Results indicate that good adherence to CPAP therapy for an average of five or more hours per night resolved baseline complaints of fatigue in 45 of 80 participants (56 percent), tiredness in 56 of 96 participants (58 percent) and sleepiness in 48 of 72 participants (67 percent); improvement of each symptom was significantly better among CPAP-adherent participants than among inadequately treated subjects. A baseline complaint of lack of energy also was resolved in 47 of 100 participants with good CPAP adherence, but this improvement failed to reach statistical significance when compared with inadequately treated participants.

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At-home sleep testing equal to overnight in a sleep lab in treatment results

Patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may no longer have to spend an expensive and uncomfortable night at a sleep center to monitor their sleep-disordered breathing. According to new research, those who performed sleep testing in their home with portable monitors showed similar improvements after three months of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in daytime function as compared to patients who underwent overnight testing in a sleep center. Furthermore, patient adherence to CPAP over the first three months of treatment was similar in patients with OSA who received home versus in-lab testing.

The research will be presented that the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

Obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing disorder during sleep, is common, dangerous, and relatively easy to treat, but expensive to diagnose.

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