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Sleep apnea hikes risk of cardiac death

A new research has found that a moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea can significantly increase a person's risk for sudden cardiac death, an often fatal condition where the heart stops beating and must be immediately treated with CPR or an automated external defibrillator.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer at least five times per hour during sleep. Symptoms can include loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, and morning drowsiness.

It has been widely reported that sleep apnea can lead to a number of heart conditions, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart attacks. Researchers in this study examined the relationship between sleep apnea and sudden cardiac death, building off of their prior study that found people with sleep apnea more frequently died suddenly from cardiac causes during the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., which is the least likely time for sudden cardiac death in the general population.

The 10,701 subjects were followed for an average of 5.3 years for incidents of resuscitated or fatal sudden cardiac death. In that time, 142 patients experienced sudden cardiac death, with the most common predictors being a patient aged 60 years, having 20 apnea episodes an hour and having a lowest oxygen saturation level of below 78 percent.

Low oxygen saturation occurs when air does not flow into the lungs when a sleep apnea patient is sleeping and as a result the patient's blood oxygen levels drop. The study showed that a drop to below 78 percent increases that patients risk of sudden cardiac death by 80 per cent.

 The study clarifies that sleep apnea patients' risk of sudden cardiac death does not simply shift from daytime hours to nighttime hours but that their overall risk of sudden cardiac death is higher than people without sleep apnea.

Plastic provides protection against cosmic rays

Data gathered by Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have shown that lighter materials like plastics provide effective shielding against the radiation hazards faced by astronauts during extended space travel.

The finding could help reduce health risks to humans on future missions into deep space, according to space scientists from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Aluminum has always been the primary material in spacecraft construction, but it provides relatively little protection against high-energy cosmic rays and can add so much mass to spacecraft that they become cost-prohibitive to launch.

The work is based on observations made by the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) on board the LRO spacecraft. Lead author of the paper is Cary Zeitlin of the SwRI earth, Oceans, and Space Department at UNH. Co-author Nathan Schwadron of the UNH Institute for the Study of earth, Oceans, and Space is the principal investigator for CRaTER.

“This is the first study using observations from space to confirm what has been thought for some time -- that plastics and other lightweight materials are pound-for-pound more effective for shielding against cosmic radiation than aluminum. Shielding can’t entirely solve the radiation exposure problem in deep space, but there are clear differences in effectiveness of different materials,” said Zeitlin.

Why older people are prone to developing joint disorders

A new study has revealed that scheduled exercise, regular meals and the periodic warming and cooling of joints could relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis in older people.
The research, by scientists at the University of Manchester, may also help explain why older people are more prone to developing this common joint disorder.

 The team in the Faculty of Life Sciences has established for the first time that cartilage cells have a functioning body clock that switches on and off genes controlling tissue function.

 The rhythm of the cartilage clock perhaps goes some way to explain why osteoarthritis sufferers find the symptoms of the disease worse at certain times of the day.

When Dr Qing-Jun Meng and his team studied cartilage tissue in older mice they found that the tissue’s body clock was 40 percent weaker than in younger mice.

This suggested that clock deterioration could contribute to an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in later life.

The researchers then looked at cartilage cells affected by damage similar to osteoarthritis and found that components of the body clock are altered during the early stages of the disease.

A new research has found that a moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea can significantly increase a person's risk for sudden cardiac death, an often fatal condition where the heart stops beating and must be immediately treated with CPR or an automated external defibrillator.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer at least five times per hour during sleep. Symptoms can include loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, and morning drowsiness.

It has been widely reported that sleep apnea can lead to a number of heart conditions, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart attacks.

Researchers in this study examined the relationship between sleep apnea and sudden cardiac death, building off of their prior study that found people with sleep apnea more frequently died suddenly from cardiac causes during the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., which is the least likely time for sudden cardiac death in the general population.

The 10,701 subjects were followed for an average of 5.3 years for incidents of resuscitated or fatal sudden cardiac death. In that time, 142 patients experienced sudden cardiac death, with the most common predictors being a patient aged 60 years, having 20 apnea episodes an hour and having a lowest oxygen saturation level of below 78 percent. 

Low oxygen saturation occurs when air does not flow into the lungs when a sleep apnea patient is sleeping and as a result the patient's blood oxygen levels drop. The study showed that a drop to below 78 percent increases that patients risk of sudden cardiac death by 80 per cent.

 The study clarifies that sleep apnea patients' risk of sudden cardiac death does not simply shift from daytime hours to nighttime hours but that their overall risk of sudden cardiac death is higher than people without sleep apnea.

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