Link found between sleep apnea, higher levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarker
Witnessed sleep apneas were significantly associated with tau in a part of the brain that helps with memory, according to findings that will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.
“Recent research has linked sleep apnea to an increased risk of dementia, so our study sought to investigate whether witnessed apneas during sleep may be linked to tau protein deposition in the brain,” Diego Z. Carvalho, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a press release.
Researchers studied brain scans from 43 patients aged 65 years and older without cognitive impairment and whose partners had witnessed sleep apneas.
Carvalho and colleagues found that after controlling for multiple confounders, these apneas were significantly associated with tau in the entorhinal cortex, with a model estimating a 0.049 elevation (95% CI, 0.011-0.087) in the cortex’s tau standardized uptake value ratio.
“Our research results raise the possibility that sleep apnea affects tau accumulation. But it’s also possible that higher levels of tau in other regions may predispose a person to sleep apnea, so longer studies are now needed to solve this chicken and egg problem,” Carvalho said in a press release. – by Janel Miller
Reference: Carvalho D, et al. “Witnessed apneas during sleep are associated with elevated Tau-PET signal in the entorhinal cortex in cognitively unimpaired elderly.” Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; May 4-10; Philadelphia.
Disclosures: Healio Primary Care Today was unable to determine the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.