UCLA researchers have reported the first evidence that obstructive sleep apnea contributes to a breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, which plays an important role in protecting brain tissue.

The discovery, reported in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroimaging, could lead to new approaches for treating obstructive sleep apnea, which affects an estimated 22 million American adults. The disorder causes frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep because the airways narrow or become blocked.

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