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Sleep apnoea linked to brain tumours – study


A long-term study into sleep apnoea in Taiwan has found that sufferers of the sleep disorder are 1.47 times more likely to develop malignant brain tumours than those who sleep healthily, reports the Taipai Times this week. The ten-year study, carried out by Huang Chun-hao at the Sleep Centre at Chiayi County’s Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, involved 225,110 participants, with an even split between sleep apnoea sufferers and healthy sleepers.

The investigation revealed that among ‘normal’ sleepers the rate of malignant brain tumour development was 1.66 per 10,000 per year, but with sleep apnoea sufferers this increased to 2.96 per 10,000 per year, underlining a significantly higher risk. The researchers took in other potentially contributing factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes and other issues.

Sleep apnoea, a condition in which breathing is ‘paused’ for a number of seconds during sleep sometimes hundreds of times per night, has been linked to various health problems in recent years, most notably heart disease. The Taiwan study is believed to be the first large-scale research programme that has linked brain tumours with the condition.

The results were presented at the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine conference last week.

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