According to Healio, the use of CPAP treatment for 6 months in OSA patients reversed brain stem changes associated with elevated muscle sympathetic nerve activity.

Our results show that 6 months of CPAP treatment significantly reduces the elevated muscle sympathetic nerve activity [MSNA] and the associated brainstem functional and anatomical changes associated with obstructive sleep apnea [OSA],” Linda C. Lundblad, PhD, of University of Western Sydney School of Medicine in Australia, and colleagues wrote. “These data show that the underling mechanisms responsible for elevated MSNA in OSA are indeed reversible and highlight the effectiveness of CPAP treatment in reducing one of the most significant health issues associated with OSA.”

Lundblad and colleagues recorded MSNA and blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) brain stem signal intensity in 13 patients and 15 controls using high-resolution functional MRI. Prior to CPAP treatment, OSA patients had significantly elevated systolic (143 ± 5 mmHg) and diastolic (84 ± 2 mmHg) pressures compared with the control group (121 ± 4 mmHg systolic and 68 ± 4 mmHg diastolic).

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