Sleep apnea treatment may reduce depression

Certain treatments for obstructive sleep apnea--a condition in which the flow of air pauses or decreases during breathing while asleep--may help reduce symptoms of depression, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of Calgary analyzed data from 22 randomized controlled trials, which studied the effects of obstructive sleep apnea treatments on patients. The trials focused on two types of treatments called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs); CPAP uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open, while MADs are worn in the mouth and move the lower jaw slightly forward to prevent airway obstruction. The studies also measured depression in the sleep apnea patients before and after they received treatment.

The results of the anlaysis, published in PLOS Medicine, showed that both CPAP and MAD were effective in improving depressive symptoms, when compared to their respective control interventions. The findings also suggested that CPAP treatment seemed to be more beneficial for depressive symptoms when there was a higher prevalence of depression at the start of the trials.

Researchers noted, however, that further studies would be needed in determine how effective both CPAP and MAD are in reducing depression compared to more standard treatments.

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Sourced from: ScienceDaily, Obstructive sleep apnea treatments may reduce depressive symptoms