Press release -
New study identifies brain changes which explain why sleep apnea increases risk for developing Alzheimer’s
STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 2000HRS (GMT) MONDAY 23RD MARCH 2020
Significant new research published today in JAMA Neurology
Researchers working on the EU-funded Silver Santé Study have identified brain changes which explain for the first time why sleep apnea increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The research, led by Dr Géraldine Rauchs , of Inserm, in Caen, France, was published today in JAMA Neurology (https://bit.ly/33HxOIB )
Dr Rauchs and her team studied the effects of sleep apnea on 127 older adults who were taking part in the Age Well clinical trial of the Silver Santé Study. The volunteers, with a mean age of 69, completed neuropsychological assessments (tests to assess how the brain is working), polysomnography (to assess sleep quality and potential sleep disorders) tests and neuroimaging scans.
Those participants with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB or types of sleep apnea) showed greater amyloid burden (protein deposits in the brain), GM volume (number of brain cells) and metabolism (how these cells use glucose for their activity) in brain areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s – increasing their risk of developing the disease in coming years. No association was found with cognition, self-reported cognitive and sleep difficulties or excessive daytime sleepiness symptoms.
Dr Rauchs, the paper’s author, says: “The results are very significant as although there was increased evidence suggesting sleep-disordered breathing (SBD) increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the brain mechanisms underlying the link were unclear.
“This study shows for the first time that SBD, or sleep apnea, increases amyloid burden, GM volume and metabolism in brain areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, increasing the risk of these individuals developing the disease in the future. This doesn’t mean, of course, that these participants will necessarily develop Alzheimer’s – just that their risk of developing the disease in future is increased.
“Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for SDB but the results of this study re-emphasize the importance of preserving good sleep quality throughout life in order to safeguard good mental health in later life.”
The Silver Santé Study, coordinated by Dr Gaël Chételat of Inserm, France, is a 5-year €7milion research project investigating mental health in the ageing population. The project, which has 11 partners in six countries, is assessing the impact of mental training activities – such as learning and new language and practising meditation – on mental health and well-being in older adults.
It is the longest ever study of both meditation and language learning and is the first to take into account the emotional aspects of ageing and mental health as well as lifestyle factors. The project has two clinical trials: (1) Age Well – which is assessing the impact of an 18-month meditation or language-learning course on healthy older adults and expert meditators; and (2) SCD Well – examining the impact of an 8 week course of meditation or health education on memory clinic patients.
The results of the Silver Santé Study’s two clinical trials are due to be released later this year.
For more information about the study visit www.silversantestudy.eu
ENDS/ Contacts & Notes follow
Media contact: Charlotte Reid at Minerva +44 (0)1264-326427 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 1.The Silver Santé is the public name for the Medit-Ageing project.
- 2.The call under which Medit-Ageing has been successfully funded is H2020-PHC-22: Promoting mental well-being in the ageing population
- 3.The project receives €7million funding and runs for 5 years from Jan 2016 - Dec 2020.
- 4.The partners in Medit-Ageing are:
|Partner organisation name||Short name||Country||Contact|
|Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale||Inserm||France||
Dr Gaël Chételat Project co-ordinator Dr Antoine Lutz |
Dr Hélène Esperou
Dr Géraldine Poisnel
|University of Liege (GIGA-CRC-In Vivo Imaging; Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit)||ULG||Belgium||Dr Fabienne Collette Professor Eric Salmon|
|University of Geneva (Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, Campus Biotech)||UNIGE||Switzerland||Dr Olga Klimecki Professor Patrik Vuilleumier|
|University College London||UCL||UK||Dr Natalie Marchant|
|University of Exeter||UNEXE||UK||Dr Thorsten Barnhofer|
|University of Cologne||UKK||Germany||Professor Frank Jessen|
|Hospices Civils de Lyon (Clinical and Research Memory Centre of Lyon)||HCL||France||Professor Pierre Krolak-Salmon|
|Consorci Institut d’Investigacions biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders Unit; Hospital Clinic; Neurodegenerative diseases: Clinical and experimental research)||IDIBAPS||Spain||Dr Jose Luis Molinuevo|
|European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network||ECRIN||EU||Amélie Michon|
|Inserm Transfert SA||IT||France||Delphine Smagghe|
|Minerva Health & Care Communications UK Ltd||Minerva||UK||Rhonda Smith, Director|
4. There are nine work packages in the study:
|Work Package||Lead partner||Institution & Country|
|1||Meditation||Dr Antoine Lutz||Inserm, France|
|2||Lifestyle||Dr Julie Gonneaud||Inserm, France|
|3||Attention||Dr Fabienne Collette||University of Liege, Belgium|
|4||Emotion||Dr Olga Klimecki||University of Geneva, Switzerland|
|5||Cognition & Well-being||Dr Natalie Marchant||University College London, UK|
|6||Biomarkers||Dr Gaël Chételat||Inserm, France|
|7||Coordination & Management||Dr Géraldine Poisnel||Inserm, France|
|8||Communication||Rhonda Smith||Minerva Communications UK Ltd|
|9||Clinical Trial||Dr Hélène Esperou||Inserm, France|
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