Study links obstructive sleep apnea to brain white matter change
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Thursday, May 2, 2013
People with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea are two times more likely to have brain white matter change even after adjustment for hypertension, reports a study in the May issue of SLEEP. White matter change was identified with brain magnetic resonance imaging. Moderate, but not mild, OSA was associated with white matter change, suggesting that the severity of disease may mediate the pathogenesis of white matter change. According to the authors, early recognition and treatment of OSA could reduce the risk of stroke and vascular dementia. A commentary notes that the study takes an important step forward in identifying the potential role of OSA as a modifiable risk factor for white matter change; however the evidence for OSA as a causal factor in white matter change remains inconclusive.