The list of CPAP benefits seems to grow, and the latest research from Europe only adds to the evidence. Specifically, researchers at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, found that CPAP correlates with improvement in brain white matter deficits seen in patients with OSA.
The findings suggest that the brain damage seen in these patients is reversible. Using fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) on magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging, researchers studied 17 men with severe OSA (age 30 to 55 years) with a mean body mass index of 32.24 ± 4.35 kg/m2 before and after CPAP therapy.
“Our study showed significant FA and MD differences in the brain of OSA subjects before treatment,” said Luigi Ferini-Strambi, MD, associate professor in the Sleep Disorders Center at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele. After 12 months of treatment, increase in FA and MD demonstrating nonpermanent damage in OSA patients and improvement in the tests for short-term memory and executive functions were seen.”
In previous studies, Ferini-Strambi showed that compared with controls, untreated patients with OSA had decreases in gray matter volume in the left posterior parietal cortex, the right superior frontal gyrus, and the left entorhinal cortex. There was significant negative correlation between gray matter volume and cognitive performance.
Researchers also found some small clusters increase in gray matter volume after treatment compared with pretreatment values, but no region showed a significant gray matter volume increase after use of a statistical threshold corrected for multiple comparisons.
Source: European Neurological Society