UCLA researchers found that obstructive sleep apnea, which inhibits normal breathing during sleep, is associated with reductions in the brain’s gray matter volume, the outermost layer of the brain that engages in higher level functioning. Paul Macey, study author and Director of Information Technology and Innovation at the UCLA School of Nursing, compared MRI scans between children with and without obstructive sleep apnea to measure gray matter volume. It is possible that the disparity in gray matter volume among children with obstructive sleep apnea explains the behavioral and cognitive problems that are common for these children. Understanding the mechanisms by which obstructive sleep apnea alters the brain can potentially improve targeted treatments for the sleep disorder in the future.
Source: Sleep apnea in children tied to changes in brain Reuters, 17 March 2017
Additional coverage on obstructive sleep apnea in children:
Sleep apnea in children tied to changes in brain KFGO, 17 March 2017
Sleep apnoea in children tied to changes in thinking and problem-solving areas of brain The Jordan Times, 18 March 2017