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Cognitive Profile and Brain Morphological Changes in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

1Center for Neurological Imaging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
3Neuroimaging Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy.
4Department of Neuroscience, University Tor Vergata, , Rome, Italy.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Neuroimage. 2011 Jan 15;54(2):787-93.
PubMed ID:
sleep apnea, neurocognitive, magnetic resonance imaging, voxelbased morphometry, segmentation, lung
Appears in Collections:
R01 NS036524/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
K23 HL103850/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
P01 AG004390/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
P01 HL095491/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
R01 HL090897/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
R01 HL085188/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
R01 AG022092/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
P41 RR013218/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
UL1 RR025758/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
K24 HL093218/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
R01 NS055083/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
U01 AI063623/AI/NIAID NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Torelli F., Moscufo N., Garreffa G., Placidi F., Romigi A., Zannino S., Bozzali M., Fasano F., Giulietti G., Djonlagic I., Malhotra A., Marciani M.G., Guttmann C.R.G. Cognitive Profile and Brain Morphological Changes in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Neuroimage. 2011 Jan 15;54(2):787-93. PMID: 20888921. PMCID: PMC4169712.
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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is accompanied by neurocognitive impairment, likely mediated by injury to various brain regions. We evaluated brain morphological changes in patients with OSA and their relationship to neuropsychological and oximetric data. Sixteen patients affected by moderate-severe OSA (age: 55.8±6.7 years, 13 males) and fourteen control subjects (age: 57.6±5.1 years, 9 males) underwent 3.0 Tesla brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing evaluating short- and long-term memory, executive functions, language, attention, praxia and non-verbal learning. Volumetric segmentation of cortical and subcortical structures and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) were performed. Patients and controls differed significantly in Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning test (immediate and delayed recall), Stroop test and Digit span backward scores. Volumes of cortical gray matter (GM), right hippocampus, right and left caudate were smaller in patients compared to controls, with also brain parenchymal fraction (a normalized measure of cerebral atrophy) approaching statistical significance. Differences remained significant after controlling for comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia). VBM analysis showed regions of decreased GM volume in right and left hippocampus and within more lateral temporal areas in patients with OSA. Our findings indicate that the significant cognitive impairment seen in patients with moderate-severe OSA is associated with brain tissue damage in regions involved in several cognitive tasks. We conclude that OSA can increase brain susceptibility to the effects of aging and other clinical and pathological occurrences.

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