Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Sleep Apnea

June 15, 2009

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, researchers at the University of New South Wales Brain Sciences (Sydney, Australia) recently showed that the brain is damaged more severely by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring than previously thought.

A recent study at the University of New South Wales Brain Sciences (Sydney, Australia) has shown that the brain is damaged more severely by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring than previously thought.

Sleep specialists from the Woolcock Institute at Sydney University used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study a dozen male patients who had severe, untreated OSA. The researchers found that these men experienced changes in brain biochemistry similar to those experienced by people who have suffered a severe stroke or are dying. Even a small percentage of oxygen desaturation during sleep caused serious effects on the bioenergetic status of the brain.

This study was different from previous sleep apnea studies that focused on re-creating the condition in patients who were already awake. The researchers also found that lack of oxygen while asleep is much worse than while awake because people can compensate much better for lack of oxygen when they are awake.