Researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine created a new laboratory model of sleep apnea that demonstrated how the disorder may damage the brain's blood vessels after only one month of symptoms. These findings underscore the importance of early diagnosis and treatment with a sleep apnea mask.
Previous laboratory models of this disease simulated the condition in animals by using periodic oxygen deprivation. However, the team of scientists worked toward creating a better model of sleep apnea by more closely mimicking the mechanics of the condition experienced by humans.
After one month, during which animals experienced 30 interruptions to their sleep cycle per night, results showed that the blood vessels in the brains of these subjects functioned 22 percent less effectively than they should have. These findings may explain why previous clinical evidence suggested there is a link between sleep apnea and stroke.
"Obstructive sleep apnea can have a detrimental impact on a person's body and their life. It is a serious, yet treatable, disorder that should not be taken lightly," said study author Randy Crossland.