Sleep Apnea Suffers Who Snore at Risk for Brain Damage, Study Says

Here’s another reason to figure out how to stop snoring: researchers at the University of New South Wales’s Brain Sciences department recently conducted a study of sleep apnea sufferers who snore and found that they were at risk for brain damage. According to The Age, the changes in the brain biochemistry of people with sleep apnea while snoring were found to be similar to changes in people who have had severe strokes or who are dying. In a statement, lead researcher Professor Caroline Rae wrote, “It used to be thought that apnoeic snoring had absolutely no acute effects on brain function, but this is plainly not true.”

The problem, the study reveals, stems from the lack of oxygen reaching the brain during prolonged pauses in breathing. Researchers discovered that even small decreases in oxygen supply have an effect on brain function, though they did not know why. Rae said, “The brain could be basically resetting its bioenergetics to make itself more resistant to lack of oxygen. It may be a compensatory mechanism to keep you alive; we just don’t know. But even if it is, it’s not likely to be doing you much good.”

She added that she hopes the findings change people’s attitudes for snoring, saying, “People look at people snoring and think it’s funny. That has to stop.”

Let’s hope that the findings also encourage snorers with sleep apnea to seek out cures for snoring. A number of products and snoring devices are available to assist with this common problem.