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New insight into mechanisms of injury and disease in sleep apnea syndrome

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Obstructive sleep apnea is a newly recognized significant risk factor for hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke and cognitive dysfunction; this disorder disturbs metabolic function, promoting insulin resistance and impairing metabolism. Characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway obstruction ...

Obstructive sleep apnea is a newly recognized significant risk factor for hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke and cognitive dysfunction; this disorder disturbs metabolic function, promoting insulin resistance and impairing metabolism. Characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway obstruction resulting in hypoxia and sleep disruption, obstructive sleep apnea is present in over 2% of the population in developed countries. Using diverse models of sleep apnea, in animals and humans, researchers have made significant progress in understanding the mechanisms underlying cardiovascular, neurologic and endocrinologic morbidities of obstructive sleep apnea, while pharmacologic therapies for obstructive sleep apnea remain elusive. In this issue of Frontiers in Neurology, we propose to highlight the clinically relevant questions that must be answered to successfully treat obstructive sleep apnea and its co-morbidities. We will then describe the progress made and future promise with the various models of obstructive sleep apnea. With effective well-orchestrated use of the highly complementary models, we may most effectively expedite therapies for this common disorder, one that is associated with so much morbidity.


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