According to recent research by Professor Chris Peers, people who snore run an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Any form of sleep disordered breathing tends to reduce the blood oxygen level of the sufferer – but Professor Peers’ research found that the lack of oxygen or ‘hypoxic state’ can affect brain cells called astrocytes. These changes allow a chemical neurotransmitters called glutamate to build up. Under normal circumstances, astrocytes mop up glutamate in the brain. However, a lack of oxygen decreased the expression of proteins required by the cells to carry out this task.
Glutamate is toxic if allowed to build up in high levels, so the accumulation could lead to brain cell death, and eventually to the onset of Alzheimer’s.