Studies reported at AAIC 2017 show that Sleep Disordered Breathing” (of which Sleep Apnea is one type) is associated with deposition of beta amyloid.

Sleep Disordered Breathing is treatable.  Thus researchers and doctors strongly recommend treatment be sought urgently for people with sleep disordered breathing

It is during sleep that the brain clears away excess beta amyloid.  Interrupted, poor or insufficient sleep interferes with this clearance process.  And deposits of beta amyloid build up.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than one third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Clearly this is not good for brain health or overall health,” said Dean M. Hartley, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Science Initiatives. “Sleep disordered breathing is treatable in many cases. Through early diagnosis and effective treatment of these sleep disorders, there is the potential to improve cognition and possibly reduce dementia risk. But first we need to know more about the connections between these medical conditions.”

Amanda Shim, Class 2019 at Wheaton College

Note: This is amazing work by two undergraduate women and their innovative professor and mentor, funded by Wheaton College.  The students and their professor used publicly available data from the ADNI collaborative study. 


Note: none of the 3 studies are clinical trials.  Next step might be to fund and conduct the more expensive clinical studies to “prove” whether treating sleep disordered breathing problems will slow deposition of beta amyloid and lower risk of cognitive impairment and slow the rate of progression in those who are already impaired.

Read more:

Disordered Sleep Not Good for Brain: Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Are Associated With Amyloid Deposition.   Press Release July 18 3 am EDT
Three analyses reported by investigative teams at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, at AAIC 2017 examined sleep patterns among participants in ADNI to characterize potential effects of SDB and OSA on brain changes associated with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

This team of innovative, resourceful researchers used the available databases produced by the ADNI research consortium. Two enterprising and intelligent undergraduates followed the lead of their amazing Professor Omonigho Bubu, MD, MPH to conduct important analyses reported here at and AAIC 2017 in London.

STUDY #1:   Amanda Shim and colleagues examined brain β-amyloid-42 accumulation in a cohort of 516 cognitively normal subjects and found that those with SDB had higher levels in CSF at baseline and more rapid accumulation over time. They found no interactive effect between OSA and the Alzheimer’s risk gene APOE-e4. This suggests that OSA may be independently associated with brain amyloid burden..

STUDY #2:    Megan Hogan and colleagues performed similar analyses to assess the

Megan Hogan Wheaton College Class of 2019

effects of OSA in 798 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). As with the cognitively normal cohort, both baseline β-amyloid-42 levels and the rate of accumulation were higher in subjects with OSA. While MCI does not always lead to dementia, a person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia. These results suggest that SDB may be an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s and raises the possibility that interventions aimed at treating SDB may also reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
A combined analysis of the cognitively normal and mild cognitive impairment populations, plus a third group with Alzheimer’s disease (n=325), evaluated the effects of OSA on levels of several Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain β-amyloid burden measured by positron emission tomography.

Analyses showed:
* Associations between OSA and CSF Aβ42 levels in the MCI and Alzheimer’s groups.
* Significant OSA associations were observed with [brain] Aβ42 levels in CN and MCI participants.
* OSA subjects experienced faster increase in [brain] Aβ42 over time in the CN and MCI groups.
* OSA participants experienced a faster decrease in CSF Aβ42 and increases in TAU and PTAU volumes over time in both the CN and MCI groups.

Omonigho Bubu, MD, MPH, research team leader and Professor at Wheaton College

STUDY #3: According to research team leader, Omonigho Bubu, MD, MPH, these results “highlight the importance of checking for and accurately diagnosing sleep disordered breathing, especially in people at risk for dementia, and more importantly in people diagnosed with MCI, so that it can be addressed and treated.”
“If OSA accelerates deposition of beta amyloid in the brain, then it becomes a possible target for therapeutic intervention. More research is needed to confirm these findings,” Bubu said.

Abstract citations: All July 2017, AAIC 2017  London, England
* Amanda Shim, et al. Sleep Disordered Breathing, APOE4 and β-Amyloid Deposition in Cognitive Normal Elderly. (Funder(s): Wheaton College Faculty Development Grant)
* Megan Hogan, et al. Obstructive Sleep Is Associated with Longitudinal Increases in Amyloid Burden in Elderly Mild Cognitive Impairment Individuals. (Funder(s): Wheaton College Development Grant)
* Omonigho Bubu, MD, MPH, et al. Effect of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) on Rate of Change of AD Biomarkers in Cognitive Normal, MCI and AD Elderly: Findings from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) Cohort. (Funder(s): Wheaton College Faculty Development Grant)

More about Amanda Shim, Class 2019 at Wheaton College

More about Megan Hogan, Class 2019 at Wheaton College

More about Omonigho Bubu, MD, MPH

About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.
AAIC 2017 home page: www.alz.org/aaic/
AAIC 2017 newsroom: www.alz.org/aaic/press.asp
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call +1 800.272.3900.
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