Medicalresearch.com interviews Paul Macey, PhD, lead researcher on a study that provides evidence of sleep apnea hurting the brain.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Macey: We did not expect that breathing very hard into a small tube would lead to similar changes in brain blood flow in the sleep apnea and healthy people; we had expected the sleep apnea patients to show problems, as they did during the gripping and cold foot activities. We now believe the hand and foot activities need to use more higher brain areas, but that these areas are injured in people with sleep apnea, and so the brain processing is weaker. The breathing into the tube on the other hand works mostly of higher pressure in the chest squeezing the heart and blood vessels, and only uses lower brain areas, which appear to mostly be working in people with sleep apnea.