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Successful CPAP Treatment May Reduce Depression

Study of obstructive sleep apnea patients shows sustained decrease in depressive symptoms

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, successful treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is associated with significant and sustained reductions in symptoms of depression, according to a report published in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Daniel J. Schwartz, M.D., and Gillian Karatinos, M.D., of the Sleep Center at University Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla., studied 50 patients who had an initial respiratory disturbance index of 15 or above and showed a 50 percent or greater decrease in the respiratory disturbance index after treatment with CPAP.

After a four- to six-week period and again at one year, the researchers found that the patients had significantly decreased depression scores as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-Fast Screen for Medical Patients.

"Why the use of CPAP is associated with the changes in these symptoms is incompletely understood," the authors write. "Whether relief of the obstructive respiratory events with CPAP might ameliorate the symptoms by improving sleep continuity, by ameliorating the adverse effects of various neurotransmitters (catecholamines or cortisol-related peptides), by alleviating the adverse effects of any attendant hypoxemia, or by a mechanism as yet unknown, cannot be determined on the basis of the findings of our study."

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