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Sleep apnoea "brain damage" claim - study

31-03-2010

The condition obstructive sleep apnoea, when suffered to a severe degree, can cause damage to the brain, according to a new report published this week.

Published in the medical journal Sleep, the German Society for Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) study suggests that the condition could reduce sufferers’ levels of grey matter – the brain’s cerebral cortex that deals with information processing and memory formation. Other effects of the condition cited in the study include respiratory control problems and brain dysfunctions.

Sleep apnoea causes interruptions in breathing due to a blockage of the airway, and is commonly signified by loud snoring or heavy gasps for air. The report classes ‘severe’ obstructive sleep apnoea as a minimum of five incidents an hour, for a minimum of ten seconds.

The condition is widely studied, and has been clearly linked to a range of health problems prior to the DGP research, including exacerbating Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and respiratory issues.

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