Study links sleep apnea, malignant cerebroma


The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Patients with sleep apnea are much more likely to suffer malignant cerebroma than those without, according to a study released yesterday by a doctor at Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital. Huang Chun-hao, director of the Sleep Center of the hospital’s branch in Talin Township of Chiayi County, Southern Taiwan, released his report on the “morbidity of the central nervous system tumors induced by sleep apnea” at a seminar hosted by the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine at the Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

Huang said he has just completed a 10-year track of 112,555 adults who were diagnosed with sleep apnea between 2000 and 2003, as well as another 112,555 adults who did not have sleep apnea, finding that 2.96 out of every 10,000 adults with sleep apnea suffered malignant cerebroma, compared to 1.66 for those without. Cerebroma refers to abnormal brain tissue mass.

Huang said after adjusting statistical information based on all related elements such as age, gender, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipemia, cerebrovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease, he found the possibility for patients with sleep apnea to develop malignant cerebroma is 1.47-times higher than that of those without.

The doctor also cited foreign studies as indicating that women who enjoy good sleep see their possibility of suffering breast cancer drop significantly, while those who fail to sleep well have an increased possibility of suffering from benign colorectal adenoma. Those who are plagued by bad sleep and a shortness of oxygen face a higher risk of developing various cancers.

The effectiveness of the immune system decreases when the body has less oxygen, which, in turn, offers a better environment for cancer cell growth, according to Huang.